Daring to be different could put Kerrs on path to podium
FIGURE skating without romance is surely a bit like downhill skiing without a hill or bobsleigh sans sleigh.
FLASHBACK: Britain's Sinead and John Kerr were tenth at the last Olympics - but promised their time would come in Vancouver (Getty Images)
Sexual chemistry is the alchemy needed for gold-medal success and a frisson of bubbling passion has long been a prerequisite required by fans and judges alike.
There is a long history of romance blossoming in the white heat of the Olympic Winter Games.
To the strains of the theme from Love Story, Canadian’s Jamie Sale and David Pelletier skated their way to a controversial pairs gold in Salt Lake eight years ago.
She was Ali McGraw and he was Ryan O’Neil, although this story had a happier ending than the sentimental 1970’s tearjerker.
At first Sale and Pelletier denied talk of a relationship off the ice but just a few weeks ago they got married, confirming everybody’s long held suspicion that they doth protest too much.
And then you’ve got Torvill and Dean – the greatest love story that never was.
Their performance of Ravel's Bolero was a tale of two star-crossed lovers who could never be together, so they climbed a volcano and threw themselves into the erupting flames.
They also won their gold on Valentine’s Day, exactly 26 years ago today.
But all of these romantic ramblings are lost on British brother and sister ice dancers John and Sinead Kerr.
You won't find them going through the motions to a medley of Andrew Lloyd Webber's greatest hits or any other tune from Heatwave's back catalogue.
The Kerrs finished tenth in Turin and promptly insisted their time would come here in Vancouver.
They underlined their potential with a bronze at last year's European Championships - Britain's first medal at that level since the heady days of Jayne and Chris - and they also reached this season's ISU Grand Prix for the first time ever, just missing out on the podium.
"I know that people always like to think of a romantic angle with ice-skating couples," said John.
"Being brother and sister means we have got to bring a different element to our routines.
"It means we are sometimes forced to be more contemporary and move away from some of the traditions of the sport."
Siblings in most families could challenge for Olympic gold, silver and bronze in advanced-level bickering.
But Sinead - 22 months her brother John's senior - claims familiarity rarely breeds contempt.
"We argue but we don't take arguments very personally, as couples who are romantically involved might do," she says.
"Sometimes we talk over the top of each other and finish each other's sentences but we don't fight on ice very often. "We haven't got long in this sport and we don't have time to waste arguing."