PHOENIX — If you like the Beatles, playing poker and listening to a pug snore loudly, then you'd get along well with Brandon Frazier.
The Phoenix-native pairs skater is competing in the Winter Olympics in Beijing along with partner Alexa Knierim. The pair skated in the team event Thursday night where they scored a personal best.
Frazier, who was born in Phoenix and grew up in Colorado Springs, started skating when he was 11 years old after roller skating for six years. But before his career on ice began, he was learning to play poker at just 6.
He also owns a pug named Chowder who can snore loud enough to replace an alarm clock.
Frazier began competitively skating with his first partner from 2009-2011 and won the novice bronze medal at the 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
He then skated with former long-time partner Haven Denney, with whom he won a World Junior title in 2013 and the U.S. Championships pairs title in 2017.
However, Frazier's career hasn't always been smooth skating. In 2018, Frazier reached a tough time in his life when he and Denney finished fifth at the 2018 U.S. Championships. Frazier said he wasn't happy with his skating at the time and he retired for a month.
Frazier continued experiencing trouble after finishing fifth again at the 2020 U.S. Championships, around the same time that Frazier and Denney were planning to go their separate ways.
Meanwhile, Frazier's current partner, Alexa Knierim, was preparing to compete without her husband, Chris Knierim, who had suddenly announced he was retiring from skating in early 2020.
In interviews, Chris said he had been fighting injuries and depression.
“He really supported me in continuing to compete," Alexa Knierim said. "He knew that I wasn't ready to retire from competitive skating."
With both skaters without partners, the two decided to compete as a pair. The decision was relatively easy too, given that Frazier and Alexa have known each other for years after Frazier helped her and long-time friend Chris Knierim get together six years ago.
A pandemic and a move to California later, and Frazier is seeing consistent success with Alexa Knierim.
The pair has placed in several competitions since joining forces including finishing third in the 2021 Internationaux de France, first in the 2021 John Nicks International Pairs Challenge, and first in the 2021 World Team Trophy with the U.S. team.
Now, after nearly missing the Olympics due to a COVID-19 scare that forced them to pull out of the 2022 U.S. Championships, Frazier and Knierim are heading to Beijing with hopes of bringing home gold with Chris as their coach.
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