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Explainer: How did Brandon Frazier and Alexa Knierim place last in team pairs' skating but still have silver medals?

Phoenix-native Brandon Frazier and partner Alexa Knierim placed fifth in team pairs' free skate but won silver with Team USA.

BEIJING, China β€” It's a victory Monday for Team USA at the Winter Olympics. The US figure skating team won silver during the team skating event Sunday night. 

And yet despite skaters Brandon Frazier and Alexa Knierim getting a piece of that silver medal, people are still asking how they won a medal even though the two placed last in the team pairs event. 

Here's how. 

>> 12 News is your local source for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing

Keeping Score

Frazier and Knierim are partners competing in the pairs' figure skating events during the Olympics in Beijing. 

The first of those competitions were the team events, which included team pairs' short program and team pairs' free skate. The short program for team pairs' occurred on Feb. 3 and Frazier and Knierim had a score of 75 which resulted in 8 points, a career-best.

On Sunday, Frazier and Knierim competed in the free skate event for team pairs. The two had a score of 128.97 which earned them 6 points in last place. 

RELATED: Arizona skater, partner finishes first day of Winter Olympics team competition with personal best

Team effort

Because these competitions are team events, the final score for Team USA is not just reliant on Frazier and Knierim in pairs. Instead, teams' final scores are based on several figure skating competitions. 

Judges tally up the points from each of those competitions to give a country their final score, which determines who gets a medal. 

Here's how the U.S. scored in each competition that contributed to its final score of 65 points. 

  • Men's Short Program 10
  • Rhythm Dance 10
  • Pairs' Short Program 8
  • Women's Short Program 6
  • Men's Free Skate 8
  • Pairs' Free Skate 6
  • Free Dance 10
  • Women's Free Skate 7

Everyone wins

Even though Frazier and Knierim contributed just 8 points from the pairs' short program and 6 points from the pairs' free skate to the team's final score, they both won medals because the rest of the team events added up enough points for the silver medal. 

Russia won gold with 74 points and Japan won bronze with 63 points. 

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Credit: AP
Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier, of the United States, compete in the pairs team free skate program during the figure skating competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

What's next?

While the team figure skating events are over with, Frazier and Knierim still have the individual pairs' events to look forward to. Here's when the two will compete again. 

  • Individual event: Pairs'- short program
    • Date: Friday, Feb. 18, 2022
    • Time: 3:30 a.m. MST
    • TV: CNBC and USA
    • Streaming: NBCOlympics.com
    • Re-air: 6:30 p.m. MST on NBC/ 12 News
  • Individual event: Pairs'- free skating (medal event)
    • Date: Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022
    • Time: 4 a.m. MST
    • TV: CNBC and USA
    • Streaming: NBCOlympics.com
    • Re-air: 6 p.m. MST on NBC/ 12 News

RELATED: Brandon Frazier has been turned into an 'Office' meme


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