Knierims have virtual lock on Olympic spot but want to go to Games on high note

Knierims have virtual lock on Olympic spot but want to go to Games on high note

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- It would be easy for Alexa Scimeca Knierim and her husband, Chris Knierim, to glide insouciantly through the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, knowing they had all but locked up the lone U.S. pairs spot on the 2018 Olympic team before taking the ice Thursday in San Jose.

After all, the Knierims are well aware of the huge advantage they have over their pairs compatriots in U.S. Figure Skating's selection criteria.

"We know where we stand," Chris said. "We're very confident in that aspect. (But) regardless of whether we're the leading team, and we're supposed to go, we need to skate well.

"We can't come here and have two bad skates, get third or fourth and still be named to the team, and be confident about that," he added. "You're going to an Olympics. You need to go in high, and you need to go in confident, and that is what we plan on hopefully doing this week."

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Adam Rippon backs up his confident swagger with his skating in nationals short program

Adam Rippon backs up his confident swagger with his skating in nationals short program

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Adam Rippon has no doubt he is going to make the U.S. Olympic team, and he isn't afraid to share that impression with anyone who brings up the subject.

"The only argument is if other mothers' competitors are on the selection committee," Rippon said on a media teleconference last week. "I've proven time and time again that I'm one of the most consistent skaters in the world. I'm a leader. I'm ready for this. There is absolutely no reason I shouldn't be on the Olympic team."

Rippon decided before the teleconference that he was going to be blunt. When it was over, he admitted to having some second thoughts about the way it came across.

"I thought maybe I sounded a little too confident," he said.

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Everything is new and same as ever for record-breaking Bradie Tennell

Everything is new and same as ever for record-breaking Bradie Tennell

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Bradie Tennell's life has changed dramatically over the last six weeks.

But she doesn't seem to have changed at all.

The Tennell who won Wednesday night's short program at the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose by delivering a record score was unruffled by suddenly being in the spotlight, nerveless when it shone on her and buoyed again by a consistency of execution that even she struggles to understand or explain.

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U.S. Figure Skating president chides U.S. senator for proposing Olympic boycott, says U.S. athletes might not heed it

U.S. Figure Skating president chides U.S. senator for proposing Olympic boycott, says U.S. athletes might not heed it

SAN JOSE, Calif. - The president of U.S. Figure Skating said Wednesday he did not believe U.S. skaters would heed a politically motivated call to boycott the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea and indirectly chided the senator who raised the prospect this week.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tweeted Monday that the U.S. should boycott if North Korea goes to the Olympics.

“I think they need to be careful saying things like that because these athletes have worked so hard to get there,” USFS President Samuel Auxier said.  “The Olympics should be above politics. They shouldn’t be playing politics with this.

“It was a disaster in 1980 for many of the athletes who couldn’t go.  And I’d hate to see that just because Trump and Kim Jong-un are trying to see which button’s bigger.”

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As Winter Games loom, skier and skater were world's best in an odd 2017

As Winter Games loom, skier and skater were world's best in an odd 2017

The Olympic cycle, like the calendar, has odd years and even years.

The even years, like 2018, include an Olympics, in this case the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The odd years, like the one that just ended, are not devoid of big events in international sports.  And 2017 was full of them, but the overriding feeling was of a year that was just plain odd – and, at times, depressingly sad.

For the second annus horribilis in a row, athletes have saved Olympic sport from itself and its feckless leaders.  Celebrating their excellence is the best way to express hope for a better 2018.

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