In 2005, my three very young children auditioned for a local Colorado Springs youth ice skating show directed by DeeDee Knierim. Cats On Ice was the first production that was a part of DeeDee Knierim’s Colorado Youth Theatre. Her own children helped with the production and that is when I got to know 17 year old Chris Knierim.
I remember DeeDee telling me that she was encouraging her son Chris to consider pairs since DeeDee had been a pair skater, so in the middle of the summer of 2005, Chris began pair skating with a very talented skater named Shawnee Smith who was also in the Cats On Ice show.
When DeeDee asked me about a good pair skating coach who could get Shawnee and Chris to the 2006 Junior Nationals, I recommended Colorado College’s ice rink manager Linda Kola Alexander. The pair passed all the required pair tests quickly and competed at the US Junior Championships that happened to be in Denver that year.
At that event, Broadmoor coach Dalilah Sappenfield saw Chris compete and met Chris. Not long afterward, Chris moved to the World Arena Ice Hall to train under Dalilah who matched him up with Brynn Carman. The Carman-Knierim pair quickly became a fantastic novice pair team that my own three children who were just beginning pairs could look up to. (By the way, Chris’s mother DeeDee was Rebekah and Joel’s first pair coach and later all three of my children went on to work with Dalilah!) Their twists were amazing I recall. As we saw Chris and Brynn excel and move up to the junior level and qualify for Junior Worlds, we were so happy for them.
Chris helped my very young daughter Annabelle with her twists and death spirals and always an encouragement to my son Joel and to my daughter Rebekah.
The Schneider-Farris family was “there” when Chris skated with two other partners: Carolyn-Ann Alba in 2010 and Andrea Poapst in 2011-12, and every time I saw Chris compete, I’d remember that young 17 year old who I saw grow up and how he had evolved into an accomplished elite pair skater.
When Alexa Scimeca arrived at the World Arena Ice Hall in 2012 to explore the idea of training in pairs under Dalilah, I was there the first day that Chris and Alexa tried out together. I remember how cute Alexa was and it just seemed that the two “clicked” from day one. Right from the beginning, they were doing great lifts and throws. Alexa’s strong singles background showed.
Dalilah Sappenfield’s pair teams were “like family” in those days and Alexa and Chris were so supportive of the Annabelle and Joel Schneider-Farris pair team. When my son Joel left for Disney On Ice Frozen in 2014, both Alexa and Chris and the rest of Dalilah’s pair skaters were so very excited and proud of Joel. Also, all of us were thrilled when Alexa and Chris got engaged and then married. We were all so happy when they won the US pair skating title in 2015.
When I heard about Alexa’s serious health issues and then the death of Chris’s dad and DeeDee’s husband, I sent them cards. I was so glad to see Alexa back on the ice after she recovered from surgery.
Alexa and Chris are so much in love and it shows in their skating. Dalilah and her team of coaches including Larry Ibarra and Eddie Shipstad have worked so hard. It will be so fun to see them march in the opening ceremonies at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang. I’m so happy for them and am crying tears of joy!
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