Q&A with Alexa Scimeca Knierim
Alexa Scimeca Knierim recently married her pairs partner, Chris Knierim. Here, Alexa opens up about their perfect day together and where she finds inspiration for her skating costumes.
Tell us about your pets.
Chris and I have four pets: Scarlet, a gray tabby cat; Muffy, a black long hair cat; and two St. Bernard/ Bernese Mountain Dog Mixes. Cami weighs 100 pounds and Diesel weighs 125 pounds. I also have one cat named Vasko that my mom adopted from me and takes care of him. Our pets are my everything!!!! They bring me so much joy at the end of every day. We take the dogs for hikes on the weekends and it allows us to break away from the training grind. My phone is filled with pet photos. I love them so much!
What would people be surprised to learn about training for the Olympics?
We plan and prepare for the four-year haul. The music or technical elements we try prior to the Olympic year are for the purpose of getting more experience and range in our abilities. The Olympics are not every four years, but every day. There is a strategy for the choices we make and they usually revolve around the Olympic year.
Can you describe your injury and what it was like to bounce back from that?
I was severely ill this past year from April 2016-October 2016. I had three abdominal surgeries from a rare situation internally. It took more than four months to get back to a decent strength on the ice after the last surgery. I have an awesome six-inch scar down the middle of my abdomen.
What’s the earliest memory you have of figure skating?
My memories of skating began with the park district program. I didn't know ice skating in the competitive way at first. At the beginning I fell in love with the freedom. When I progressed I learned that ice skating was a competitive sport and also a performing art. I then began watching skating on TV. I was so in love from the beginning. I don't remember making a decision to dedicate my life. I just didn't consider life without it.
What’s the first memory of watching the Olympics? Did you think that could be you someday?
I remember sitting on my living room floor watching Sasha Cohen compete. I was so nervous for her. I always dreamed about going to the Olympics and being like Sasha. I also remember watching Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy compete at the same Olympics but I wasn't interested in pairs skating at the time. I envisioned myself on the ice alone for many years. My dream didn't change until I was 20 and started pairs skating. I continued to see myself at the Olympics, only this time with a man next to me.
What’s something cool about training as a pairs skater that people don’t normally see?
In pairs skating, you don't have the luxury of showing up to training in a bad mood. You have to show up every day ready to work for the sake of your partner. You have to stress the importance of putting your partner before yourself in order to be a successful team.
What’s a misconception about figure skating that you want to clear up?
There is no such thing as a flying Lotus (from Blades of Glory)!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
Skate for the Glory of God
What’s your biggest fear on the ice?
Letting down the kids who look up to me
What is your relationship like with your coach?
I’ve skated with Dalilah Sappenfield as my coach for five years. She has been more than a coach to me, but a second mother and friend. She has instilled life lessons and morals within me. She's shown me how to handle hardships and take one day at a time. She's changed my life for the better. I've grown into a strong young woman because of the influence she's had on me. She was our wedding officiant. Our relationship will continue on after we retire from skating.
What’s your pre-competition ritual?
Read card for each program from my mom. Tie my left skate first. Prayer with the team. Fist pump with Dalilah.
Do you have a lucky charm?
What do you do to unwind after a competition?
After I get home from traveling I like to unpack right away and start my R&R in bed while binge watching Netflix. I like to catch up with my pets and snuggle with them.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an athlete?
Working with children, perhaps a dental hygienist for kids
Describe your perfect day.
With Chris: Sleep in past 8 a.m. Bacon for breakfast. Church. Hike with the dogs or fishing. BBQ with the family. Home by 5 p.m. Cuddles with the cats. Netflix and chill.
What do you like doing with your free time?
I love spending time at the lake with Chris. Sometimes I'll fish with him, but most times I find a quiet spot and read my Kindle. In the summers, we try to go most weekends. We bring the dogs with and it's just a great time to get away from the real world and decompress.
Another hobby of mine is rhinestoning. I like to add a little sparkle to my clothes. Sometimes I rhinestone items for friends as well.
What are your favorite movies?
Miracle and The Wizard of Oz
What do you like to watch on television?
Project Runway, Grey’s Anatomy, and Dancing with the Stars
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
Believe by Cher
What websites do you check every day?
Pinterest. I find many of our dinner recipes on there. I'm able to find new ideas for skating leotards and practice gear by following all the fashion boards. I love to check out new organizational tips as well. It has all my interests in one place.
What’s your favorite social media app?
I love Instagram because it's mindless and it can be inspiring. I like to follow inspirational and spiritual accounts. My favorite profiles to follow are cat ones, though. It's a tool for me to relax my mind and just scroll down mindlessly.