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SOCHI, Russia — Each ice dance and pairs figure skating team at the Olympics will have no more than seven minutes of ice time, if they are lucky, to prove to a panel of judges and the world that they are a single unit, a duo that can twizzle, trot and leap harmoniously as one.
But year-round and off the ice, several teams have embarked on campaigns to project an image of unity.
They said that in an Olympic year, having high-resolution photographs can be critical.“We try to be authentic with how we come across and who we are as people,” Maia Shibutani said.
Alex Shibutani added: “Ice dance is a unique sport in the Olympic Games. We want there to be some of that off the ice as well.
But top competitors do not appear to be taking chances.Myra Klarman, a photographer based in Ann Arbor, Mich., who took the photos, says she does not usually accept to-be-wed couples as clients, so she was surprised when the skaters contacted her.She considered it a positive when Virtue and Moir told her they were not actually dating.“I don’t want to do kissy-kissy pictures,” Klarman said.The result is a bounty of photographs, some shot and posed professionally, and a fire hose of social media images of the pairs palling around in a couple-y manner as extensions of the on-ice personas they hope will lead them to the podium. Some are talented athletes who like to skate together.While some Olympic figure skating and ice dance couples are romantically involved, most are not. But in a subjective sport, often with suspect judging and with accusations of an ice dancing fix swirling, creating a passionate, united figure skating front has never been more critical.