American figure skaters Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim — a husband and wife duo — are speaking out about how their Christian faith helped them overcome a difficult health challenge and persevere to compete in this year’s Olympics in South Korea.
Alexa Scimeca Knierim was diagnosed in 2016 with a rare and potentially deadly gastrointestinal condition, one that left her needing a serious and immediate surgery on her abdomen in August 2016; then, she needed two additional procedures.
If you've never known down, you'll never appreciate up. . 4 months ago, it was nearly impossible for me to "get up" out of bed. . 4 months ago, brushing my teeth was more challenging than any long program I'd ever performed. . 4 months ago, when my body was at its weakest, my faith was at its strongest.✝️ . When you're faced with a challenge and you find yourself down–no matter how you might've gotten there–you have always have 2 choices: give up and lay there, or get up and fight for what you want. . Eyes up. Rise up. GET UP! . #NationalGetUpDay
The health woes paid a toll, with Alexa Scimeca Knierim telling People Magazine that the ordeal was quite harrowing.
“I’m 5-foot-2 and I was about just over 80 lbs. before and after surgery. I lost all of my muscle, and my body mechanics when I started getting back into working out were like next to none,” she said. “The very first time I stepped back on the ice after my surgeries, Chris had to hold me up because my body was not capable of standing on its own.”
Professionally, too, the situation was daunting. The couple were thrown into uncertainty, pulling out of every skating event for the first half of 2016.
Both Alexa, 26, and Chris Knierim, 30, relied on their Christian faith to get through it all, telling reporters this week about how God guided Alexa through recovery and prepared the duo to compete.
“It’s the reason I was able to get back on the ice, because I stopped worrying and stopped trying to control life, because I couldn’t,” Alexa told People. “In the moment, you know, I was so sick and didn’t really know where things were going to go for me, whether it was skating or life in general.”
She continued, “So I finally just threw my hands up and said like, ‘You lead the way,’ and it’s my testimony and I stay true to it.”
Alexa also discussed how important she believes it is to stay grounded and share her faith at the Olympics, adding that competing in the games is a chance to “glorify God.”
“Even here at the Games, it’s no longer about me,” Alexa said. “I have fans out there who know that I am a true believer in the Lord and I’m trying my best to shine his light and let people know that it’s okay to promote him and do things for him, because in the Christian life that’s kind of what we’re supposed to.”
In the end, it’s pretty miraculous that the duo was able to overcome and compete at this year’s games. Amazing stuff.