figure skating

U.S. Figure Skaters Alexa Knierim, Brandon Frazier Take Early Lead in Pairs Short Program

Team USA's Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Brandon Frazier compete in the pair skating short program at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, Feb. 18, 2022.
Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images

Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier have risen to the top of the leaderboard.

Performing to "House of the Rising Sun" by Heavy Young Heathens, the U.S. figure skating duo scored a 74.23 to take an early lead in the pairs short program on Friday at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Knierim and Frazier, the second of 18 pairs to skate, received a 40.64 technical score and 33.59 component score for a performance that NBC's Tara Lipinski called "electric."

That put them ahead of Georgia's Karina Safina and Luka Berulava, who scored a 66.11.

"We competed exactly how we've been skating and what we set out to do," Frazier said. "I'm just so proud and still enjoying the Olympic experience. But above all, just so proud of what Alexa and I are doing and how we're holding ourselves. Some things were a little tight but most of all we went out there and attacked that program and gave it everything we've got."

The duo, which first paired in 2020, placed third in their short program during the team event. Frazier is making his Olympic debut in Beijing, Knierim earned bronze in the event at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics while competing with her husband and former skating partner, Chris Knierim.

Also competing for the U.S. will be Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc. The duo, skating together since 2016, is making its Olympic debut after coming in first at the 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

The top 16 pairs advance to Saturday's free skate.

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