Chris & Alexa Knierim’s Family: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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alexa knierim, chris knierim Getty

Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Christopher Knierim celebrate in the kiss and cry after the Championship Pairs during the 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the SAP Center on January 6, 2018 in San Jose, California.

Alexa and Chris Knierim, pair skaters who are the first married couple competing at the Olympics since 1998, come from close and loving families.

The two began skating together in 2012, and they soon started dating, marrying in 2016. They do not have children, although they do have four pets. As the only American pair skaters in PyeongChang, they are providing the United States with a medal hope and a romantic backstory.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. Chris Knierim’s Father Died Last Year, Leaving Him ‘Crushed’ & ‘Broken’

I’m not very comfortable at telling my story and expressing every emotion I feel. However, I think it is important to share my journey for the last 21 months in hopes that I can inspire at least one person. During the months of 2016 I married the love of my life, but I also felt what it could be like to lose her. It was scary. I was brave outside, but terrified within. I stood by her side helping her get to the second half of the competition season in 2017. I thought the heartache was over after almost a year of pain. In April of 2017, shortly after competing at the World Championships, my father passed away. I was crushed. Devastated. Broken. But again, I was brave on the outside. After all, we were heading into the Olympic season and there was no time to cry. I worked through the days I was empty inside and skated for the pride of my father. I wanted to make his sacrifices for me worth while. I’m proud to represent USA at the Olympics, but more importantly honoring my fathers service in the military. While training for the new season I became severely injured with a knee injury. It prevented me from training my weakest element, jumps, for months. I had to face the music of being unprepared when we competed this season. The hits on social media and criticism on my jumping ability hit me hard. Again, I put my brave shield on and pushed forward. My knee finally started to heal when we prepared for the US Championships. I was ready and feeling confident. When push came to shove, it shoved hard. I failed. Again. I put my brave act on as we accepted our medals, knowing that I did not live up to my capabilities. I stood on the podium honoring my father, wishing he were there. When we returned home to start training for the Olympics when I received a message that my uncle had passed away. Another shot to my heart. Another loss. I’m left wondering how much more I can handle. What else can be thrown at me? I’m not really sure. What I do know is that WE GET UP. I have a team that supports me even when I don’t wear my armor of bravery. I will continue to do my best because my dad once said, “there is no limit for you two.” Thank you for reading. #wegetup

A post shared by Chris Knierim (@chris_knierim) on

The Knierems’ road to the Olympics has been paved with hurdles, including his knee injury and her stomach issues. In addition, Chris lost his father. “Our journey has really been defined by two things, and that’s faith and fortitude,” Alexa Knierim told The Chicago Tribune.

According to The Tribune, Chris’ father died last year. “For a while, it seemed like one bad thing after another,” Alexa told the newspaper. Chris wrote an incredibly emotional Instagram post on January 12. He wrote:

I’m not very comfortable at telling my story and expressing every emotion I feel. However, I think it is important to share my journey for the last 21 months in hopes that I can inspire at least one person. During the months of 2016 I married the love of my life, but I also felt what it could be like to lose her. It was scary. I was brave outside, but terrified within. I stood by her side helping her get to the second half of the competition season in 2017. I thought the heartache was over after almost a year of pain. In April of 2017, shortly after competing at the World Championships, my father passed away. I was crushed. Devastated. Broken. But again, I was brave on the outside. After all, we were heading into the Olympic season and there was no time to cry. I worked through the days I was empty inside and skated for the pride of my father. I wanted to make his sacrifices for me worth while. I’m proud to represent USA at the Olympics, but more importantly honoring my fathers service in the military. While training for the new season I became severely injured with a knee injury. It prevented me from training my weakest element, jumps, for months. I had to face the music of being unprepared when we competed this season. The hits on social media and criticism on my jumping ability hit me hard. Again, I put my brave shield on and pushed forward. My knee finally started to heal when we prepared for the US Championships. I was ready and feeling confident. When push came to shove, it shoved hard. I failed. Again. I put my brave act on as we accepted our medals, knowing that I did not live up to my capabilities. I stood on the podium honoring my father, wishing he were there. When we returned home to start training for the Olympics when I received a message that my uncle had passed away. Another shot to my heart. Another loss. I’m left wondering how much more I can handle. What else can be thrown at me? I’m not really sure. What I do know is that WE GET UP. I have a team that supports me even when I don’t wear my armor of bravery. I will continue to do my best because my dad once said, “there is no limit for you two.” Thank you for reading. #wegetup

In a throwback post about his dad, Chris wrote about his dad’s love of German food, “Back in the day when my dad loved his MC Hammer pants. 🙈My dad would have been the big 5-0 today. I love and miss him so much. So tonight I’m eating at his favorite German restaurant. I’ll never be able to repay him for everything he sacrificed for me to skate and follow my dreams. I hope I can be as amazing a father as he was. #germanfood #edelweiss #50.”

Chris’ father’s death capped a year of hardships. Alexa faced a serious stomach ailment in 2015 and 2016. “Alexa was eventually diagnosed with a rare, potentially fatal gastrointestinal condition. She underwent three surgeries and her weight whittled down to just 80 lbs,” People Magazine reports. She required three abdominal surgeries.


2. Chris’ Father Was in the Military, So the Family Moved a Lot

Chris told NBC that his parents were Deedee and Jeff Knierim. He has three siblings: Tyson, Kara and Josh.

“My dad was in the military for a few years, the Army. It impacted my journey because we moved so often. Making new friends and getting used to new schools was a normal thing,” he told NBC.


3. Chris Calls Alexa His Rock

In December 2016, Chris Knierim posted the above joking photo on Instagram and wrote, “Being married to this girl for 6 months isn’t so bad. She likes licking fish. On a serious note though, she is the strongest person I know. I don’t think I would have been strong enough to overcome everything she has overcome.#myrock 😘” Alexa responded, “I love you ❤️”

Alexa posted a wedding photo on Instagram. Fittingly, it showed the couple dancing. On their six month anniversary, Alexa wrote, “Today marks our 6 month anniversary of being married! Nothing has brought me more happiness than spending each and every day with @Chris_knierim. ❤”

According to NBC News, the couple’s family includes two cats and two dogs. In March 2017, Chris posted another tribute to Alexa, writing, “‪4 World Championships and 4 top ten finishes together. I look up to my wife @alexa_knierim more then ever. Being with her every step of the way. Seeing everything she has been able to overcome. Im so proud of her! We have so much more to give to the sport and to each other.”


4. Alexa Has Written Tributes to Her ‘Great Mom’

Like Chris, Alexa has frequently expressed her love for her family. “Enjoyed my two week visit with my momma,” she wrote with one post about her mother. “Felt like it only lasted a few hours tho. How lucky I am to have such a great mom…! Thanks for being my number 1 fan. Xoxo see you soon. I love you! (Photo features a giant rabbit, Asher) #mom #mother #love #friends #twins #rabbit #summer #teacher #daughter #blonde.”

Alexa frequently posted photos with her mother on Instagram.

Alexa has written that she got her strength from her mother. “Happy Birthday to my gorgeous mother! Momma- You always say you wish you had the strength that I have, but you fail to recognize that YOU instilled that strength in me. I will never lose sight of that! Miss and love you everyday…..❤❤❤” she wrote with one Instagram post.

“My greatest blessing is my family. I don’t know how I got so lucky,” she wrote with a throwback picture.


5. Alexa Wrote That She Married Her Soul Mate

The pair frequently gush about each other on social media. “The best part of me is you. I’m so blessed to have married my soul mate. I love you,” Alexa wrote.

She also wrote with a wedding photo of the couple: “”If the whole world was watching I’d still dance with you. Drive highways and byways to be there with you. Over and over the only truth. Everything comes back to you. My love. Our first year of marriage is what I believe to be the hardest. Thru the trials of sickness and setbacks we held onto each other without doubt. Never once did we sway from one another. To dream of the perfect man, I’ll always dream of you. You’ve fulfilled my life in ways I didn’t know existed. I continue work every day to be somewhat close to the perfect spouse you are to me. I thank God every day for you. There is no greater blessing… I love you. Here’s to the future! Xoxoxox #AKCK #married #anniversary #iloveyou.”

Chris said the love match was initially unexpected. “We didn’t expect to date one another,” Knierim told Ice Network.com. “Alexa and I really have gotten to know what works together and what doesn’t. You’re working hard; you’re fatigued. Your demeanor isn’t going to be the same as off the ice when you’re just hanging out. It helps because you get to know the person inside and out.”