Column: Will ‘All My Children’ on ice be next?

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“And it seems to be going pretty well so far,” she added.

“Agreed,” said her partner and lifetime Lithuanian Deividas Stagniunas, who until two months ago didn’t know whether he’d be in Sochi. “We feel how lucky we are every second we are here.”

After 25 years of campaigning, ice dancing joined the Olympics in 1976. Its biggest boost came eight years later, when a sizzling performance by Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean to Ravel’s “Bolero” won the 1984 gold medal in Sarajevo. Despite repeated tweaks ever since, nothing has come close to generating that kind of buzz.

But looking the other way at all these shenanigans might not even be the most cynical part of the IOC’s decision to give the sport its continued blessing. It’s cutting the field from 24 couples down to 20 ahead of Monday’s free dance.

Never mind that every ice dancer here has trained for years, many traveled halfway around the world to get to Sochi, and a few even forsake hearth and home for a chance to compete for 2 minutes, 50 seconds in the short dance.

Letting them all onto the ice for Monday night’s free dance would add another half-hour or so to the program, tops.

Sound tough? Sure. But that’s what happens in a sport where loyalty is always in such short supply.

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Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke@ap.org and follow him at Twitter.com/JimLitke.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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