They had learned about the Florida tragedy just hours before their event when the couple was in the athletes' warm-up room at Gangneung Ice Arena.
"I think I kind of put pressure on myself today because I wanted to honor those who were lost and skate really well for them and kind of have somewhat of a happy moment for our country," the Washington Post quoted Scimeca-Knierim as saying.
The 26-year-old added, "Even though we're here in PyeongChang, our hearts are with them. We may be living in a different world over here with the Olympic hype, but we're hurting for them."
The couple ended with some shaky landings but also became the first Americans to land a quad twist in an Olympic competition when they opened their free skate with it. (ANI)