American figure skater Alexa Scimeca-Knierim broke down in tears following her routine at the Winter Olympics final in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Wednesday, saying she and husband Chris Knierim skated for the victims of the Florida school shooting earlier in the day.
The couple, the only U.S. team among the 16 finalists in the pairs figure skating free skate competition, took to the ice mere hours after 17 children and staff were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, about 15 miles northwest of Fort Lauderdale.
“We wanted to skate for the 17 children that died in the Florida shooting. And today was much more than about us,” Scimeca-Knierim said in an interview following her performance, Time reported.
“We are so privileged and lucky to be doing what we are doing, and it’s so sad that 17 people died in the United States. I told Chris today he’d need to be so much stronger than me.”
The pair won bronze medals as part of the U.S. figure skating team event. On Wednesday, the pair scored 185.82 in the pairs competition, placing them toward the bottom of the field.
“I am disappointed with the way we performed today, but so many people at home are hurting because their children have died,” she said, according to The Associated Press.
“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. I am overwhelmed.”
Scimeca-Knierim also published a tweet about the Florida shooting, sending sympathy to the victims and their families.
Her husband later retweeted it on his own Twitter account.
Despite saying they were affected by the sad news from back home, the pair managed to pull off an Olympic first, according to U.S. Figure Skating.