The 2019 NHK Trophy will be the sixth event of the 2019–20 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating. It will be held at Makomanai Ice Arena in Sapporo, Japan between November 22nd and 24th.
The 2018 Olympic bronze medalists in the figure skating team event, the 2016 Four Continents silver medalists, the 2014 Four Continents bronze medalists, three-time Grand Prix medalists, and two-time U.S. national champions (2015, 2018) Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim are among the competing skaters.
They talk about the inspiration behind their free program, whether they plan on performing a quad twist at competition this season, how it feels to work with your spouse, and whether their pets get along at home.
Your free program is so beautiful. Would you please tell us about it? Who chose the music?
Well, actually we got inspired for the music when Mariah Bell used it. We were in a practice session in California with her, sharing the ice. At the same time I looked at Jenny, and I was like “something like this?”, and she was like “I was thinking the same thing”. Then Jenny and I brought it up to Chris and Todd, and we all felt like it was just what we needed for our next program.
Who was the choreographer?
Benoit Richaud, same as last year.
Also, your triple twist is really good. Are you planning on trying a quad this season?
Well, we’ve done one in the past, so we’ll see. I mean that’s the goal, but we needed to get our twist back to a spot where we could feel comfortable doing a quad twist. Last season it was a little shaky. We need to stay consistent, before we add things.
Yes, we would like to, because it’s incredible to do and we like being the only Americans to do it. But we also realize that we need to fine tune the weaknesses. So, maybe the easy twist for now.
Being partners on the ice and partners in life, what are the benefits and what are the drawbacks?
Well, when we talk to people about having to work with their spouse, they always laugh, “I could never work with my wife or husband”. In any relationship there’s arguments and things like that. But for us, if there’s ever an argument, it’s about what we’re doing on the ice, which is kind of funny. Off the ice, no arguments, no nothing.
Being together all the time is all that we know. It’s different if you ask a couple that never worked together, and then one day tell them to go work together. It would be different. But Chris and I only know how to be together all the time, and it’s strange when we’re apart. We’ve gone through a lot of obstacles with different setbacks and roadblocks, but we were able to fight through them.
So what are the benefits?
The connection. It’s easy for us.
We don’t have to explain what we feel.
Also, we are on the same page as far as what we want to do on the weekends for fun. Maybe we’re both tired or both want to go out. So you don’t have a spouse at home who wants to go out and do stuff when you get home from training. Like “let’s go on a hike”, and you’re like “Ahh, no” (laughs).
I know that you have a lot of cats and dogs. Would you please tell us a little bit about that? How many pets do you have?
We have a bunch of animals. Two dogs, two cats. Two BIG dogs (smiles).
Do they get along?
They all get along. The cats lick the dog faces. It’s kind of funny. They’re all great.
Sometimes all six of us are in one bed.
Oh my gosh. It must be a huge bed.
It’s a California King. They don’t make those here in Europe. But at home we have a very large bed.
Yeah, it’s a big bed. We got a bigger bed because our queen wasn’t big enough (smiles).
Do you have any specific goals for this Grand Prix series?
We just want to do better each time. We don’t need to skate perfect, but we need to clean up the mistakes. Instead of being big errors, some small errors. And then as we go through the season, just getting more consistent as we go. Just a little better.
Thank you so much for the interview. Good luck!