Skating Couple Defies Odds to Compete in Olympics to 'Glorify God'

Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Kneirim of the U.S. in action.
Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Kneirim of the U.S. in action. (REUTERS/John Sibley)

It doesn't matter if they get the gold: U.S. Olympic figure skating pair Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim say they're already winners—for making it onto the ice. And, according to People, they're crediting their Christian faith.

Over the weekend, the husband-and-wife team competed in the figure skating team event at the 2018 Winter Olympics held in South Korea. While they finished in fourth place in the free skate, their performance contributed to the U.S. earning bronze.

"Today wasn't a brilliant skate by any means, but we're just so happy to be here," 26-year-old Alexa admitted, but stressed to People Sunday that the couple had "already won by being able to step on the ice."

That's because, shortly before the two married in 2016, Alexa's life was threatened by a severe gastrointestinal condition. Alexa "started feeling very sick at a competition" which later led to three surgeries and withdrawing from all skating events for the first half of that year.

"I just had to relearn everything on the ice," Alexa said of after the surgeries. "The very first time I stepped back onto the ice after my surgeries, Chris had to hold me up because I was not capable of standing on my own because of how fragile and weak my body was."

At five feet, two inches, she weighed "just over 80 pounds before and after surgery."

After their free skate at the Olympics, the couple opened up about how their Christian faith played a role.

"In the moment, you know, I was so sick and didn't really know where things were going to go for me, whether it was skating or life in general," Alexa told reporters of trusting God. "So I finally just threw my hands up and said like, 'You lead the way,' and it's my testimony and I stay true to it."

"It's no longer about me," Alexa added. "I have fans out there who know that I am a true believer in the Lord, and I'm trying my best to shine His light and let people know that it's OK to promote Him and do things for Him, because in the Christian life that's kind of what we're supposed to."

According to Alexa, the Olympics is a chance to "glorify God, and my followers know that that's my purpose and it makes me happy."

And her husband couldn't agree more. "We both share the same thing," 30-year-old Chris said of their Christian faith. Together, the two pray before their competitions and also spend time with other Christian athletes in Colorado.

"So it's taken a big kind of role in my life and Chris' and I truly believe that's why we were able to get here," Alexa concluded.

In a Team USA video published last month, Alexa also stressed she relied on her faith.

While NBC Nightly News covered their emotional story Feb. 8, there was no mention of their religion.

At a time when the entertainment industry mocks Christianity, Alexa regularly post inspirational faith messages on social media.

This article originally appeared on

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