Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Jessica Booth
February 15, 2018 7:48 am

The tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has made international news, casting a shadow on the 2018 Winter Olympic Games for many U.S. competitors.

American pairs skater Alexa Scimeca Knierim held back tears while discussing the shooting during an interview. She and her skating partner and husband, Chris Knierim, first heard about the shooting from a CNN report while they were in the warmup room before their event.

"We're still privileged and lucky to be doing what we're doing and it's so sad that 17 people died from the United States," she said to reporters after their performance. "I told Chris today that the world is so much bigger than us, and I'm disappointed at the way we performed today, but I mean there are so many people hurting at home getting the news that their children have died."

Alexa said she wasn’t thinking about the shooting while she was skating, but she had hoped that their performance could provide some light back home.

"I think I kind of put pressure on myself today, because I wanted to honor those who are lost and skate really well for them and kind of have somewhat of a happy moment for our country, and unfortunately [there were] too many mistakes today. It was one of our lowest scores. And I think I'm maybe just being too tough on myself, but [I] wanted to lift the spirit of those who are probably mourning right now."

She added that her heart and Chris’s heart are with the victims and the community in Florida, saying, “Even though we are here in PyeongChang…we’re hurting for them.”

As two-time U.S. champions in pair skating, the two helped bring Team USA to a bronze medal in the figure skating team event earlier in the week, but last night wasn’t their best skate. They finished second to last with a total score of 185.82.

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