Years of instability could cost Americans in Sochi

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- There's no use worrying how the U.S. pairs will do at next year's Sochi Olympics.

Simply getting to the Winter Games is of far bigger concern.

A decade of instability has the Americans facing the prospect of sending only one pairs team to Sochi, shocking for a country that considers itself a figure skating powerhouse. Not since 1924 have the Americans sent only one pair to the Olympics.

The state of American pairs is in such sorry shape that none of the teams on last year's podium is competing at this week's U.S. Figure Skating Championships, which begins Thursday with the short program. Defending champions Caydee Denney and John Coughlin are out while he recovers from hip surgery, but the silver and bronze medalists have split up.