Paris (AFP) - Forget the quadruple jump or the triple axel what will really count in the Olympic rink at Sochi's Iceberg Sports Palace from February 6-20 will be what the skater is wearing.
Olympic skating fashions are the most talked about at the Winter Games.
American Johnny Weir may not have made the podium in Turin or Vancouver, but his over-the-top costumes stood out as Russians Oxana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin danced to bronze in at the 2010 Games in "Aboriginal" suits.
Two-time Olympic women's champion Katarina Witt's costumes pushed the boundaries of ice fashion, with her skirtless feather-trimmed 1988 costume for a showgirl-themed routine leading skating body the ISU to change the rules requiring female skaters to wear more modest costumes, including skirts.
Sochi should live up to expectations.
Olympic men's gold medal hopeful Javier Fernandez of Spain's stripy black, white, red and yellow costume to "Satan Takes A Holiday" this season has mystified spectators.
"It was (coach) Brian (Orser)'s idea to use Spanish-typical colours. It's a bit 'a mix of ideas from various people ... put together in a unique costume!" he explained.
Costumes for skating's biggest stars such as South Korea's Kim Yu-Na and Mao Asada of Japan run into the thousands of dollars but for more modest skaters such as Romania's Zoltan Kelemen it can prove costly at over 2,000 dollars.
"My costumes are made by a Russian company. You send them the music and they give you a couple of examples. There's nothing random about it," said Kelemen of his floral shirt.
"For me it just matters how I feel in it, that it's comfortable and light.
"For my budget it's expensive so I can use the same one for two seasons."
Former Olympic medallist Barbara Fusar-Poli, now a coach, is fussy with what her charges wear in a sport where choreography and interpretation count in the scores.
"We put all our ideas together. It's a long drawn out process. With Barbara that can take quite a while as she's never satisfied," explained Italian ice dancer Marco Fabri, who works with Fusar-Poli.
"For Romeo and Juliet this season we did a lot of research before putting our ideas down, and then it all changed a few times."
French skater Florent Amodio, a former European champion, skating a "Tango" in burgundy and black with a sequenced plunging neckline, personally designs his costumes.
"It's one of the most important parts of the performance -- costumes and music. The whole lot goes together," said Amodio, who was born in Brazil but adopted by a French couple when he was a baby.
"I have my personal style, but I respect the style of other skaters. I chose the Tango at the beginning of the season and I think this costume works well with my skin colour. I want to try something new at the Olympics."