"Oh, of course," said a laughing Doug Williams, president of the All Year Skating Club.
"A number of teams will go their entire career together without getting along.It's all about business and making it look good in front of the judges."
Pairs figure skating, and its distant cousin, ice dancing, are often overshadowed by the more glamorous singles competition.
, an accomplished doubles skater who led the effort to bring the U.S. Championships to Los Angeles, changed partners five times in 14 years.
Differences develop between the partners, the chemistry disappears for various reasons or, as happened to Williams
once, one partner simply thinks he
could do better with somebody else.Successful partnerships skate through the tough times.
"If you knew how good the other person was going to turn out to be, it would be an easy choice at the start," Williams
said."The U.S. has had a lot of success with brother-sister teams, because their parents won't let them break up, so they stay together.
"Part of being successful is going through the ups and downs together.When you have a bad skate, you need somebody there to support you."
Pairs skate short and long programs to the music of their choosing, but dancers must first go through a round of compulsories, during which every team performs the same set of moves to the same music.