Moments later, they were on Olympic ice.
Knierim fell on both of his triple jumps, a salchow and the toeloop that was supposed to lead into a double toeloop. Ondrej has so far spent Valentine's Day in competition, competing with partner Valentina Marchei in the short program. Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China took silver.
Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov of Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation were in second place with a score of 81.68, followed by Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford with a score of 76.82.
"My first thought", she said about their performance, "was I hope teams that are not here - we all want to be here - aren't saying they could've done better".
"I am disappointed with the way we performed today, but so many people at home are hurting because their children have died". "This journey is really between Chris and I.it's not about our score and it's not about the other teams being better than us".
The 26-year-old added, "Even though we're here in PyeongChang, our hearts are with them".More news: Florida shooter booked, charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder
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"I was not focused on it while we were skating, but now that we are done, after we've skated, there's an emotional hurt".
It's been an emotional but fulfilling week for the Knierims, whose primary job as the only US pairs in Korea was in the team competition. With the field having first competed on Tuesday night in the short program feature, the scores will be combined with the free skate portion Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC (live stream) to decide which duo will win gold.
Two days later, they had a bronze medal around their necks.
"It's Valentine's Day and I think we showed how much we love each other and love to skate with each other during the programme", Chris told reporters after the pair finished 14th to just about qualify for the free skate. They are the first USA couple to do the maneuver in an Olympics, though the quad twist is becoming more common throughout the world. Wednesday, they could skate together, consumed by a program soaked with meaning, set - deliberately - to "Come What May" from "Moulin Rouge".
"It felt great", Chris said.