by Anne Calder
Swedish singles skater Nikolaj Majorov recently announced his move to ice dance. He and new partner Milla Ruud Reitan (NOR) are representing his homeland and are already training in Oberstdorf, Germany with Rostislav Sinicyn and Natalia Karamisheva.
Reitan, who will be 18 in September has an older brother, Mathias and a dog named Bolt. Her mother was a gymnast, which explains Milla’s love for the sport. She skated Novice singles prior to moving to Germany in 2021 to begin her first ice dance partnership.
“I love ice dance because it’s a beautiful and creative sport.” – Milla Ruud Reitan
“The move was at an interesting time,” Reiten noted. “Covid was at its peak, but changing life style was super fun. Since I was young, I said I was going to move, so I did. It was not hard, but learning ice dance was a challenge. I had to go back to the basics. But it was alway better for me to skate with a partner.”
Majorov will celebrate his 23rd birthday in August. The son of a coach and dance instructor plus the younger brother of singles competitor, Alexander, he was just two years old when he began skating.
“I was never forced to skate. I kind of joined the party.” – Nikolaj Majorov
“I just followed the steps and liked it a lot,” Majorov said. “Of course, it was easier for me when it came to competitions. My brother could help a lot by just saying what to expect, and how to be on the ice.”
Nikolaj admitted there were pros and cons to being a ‘Coach’s Child’.
“I always got help – day and night,” he confided, “but I never had a day off from hearing, “figure skating”.
The two-time Swedish gold medalist has lots of skating memories including landing his 1A, 2A, 3A, his first championship and, of course, the 2022 Olympics.
The brothers also shared some special memories.
In 2018 while still skating at the junior level, Nikolaj also made his senior debut. Coincidentally, it was Alexander’s final season. The duo competed against each other at Finlandia, Golden Spin and the 2019 Europeans in Belarus.
“It was extra fun to share the ice with my brother,” Majorov proudly stated.
They competed together for the final time at the December 2019 Swedish Senior National Championships with Alexander winning gold and Nikolaj taking home silver.
“Again, super fun,” Majorov said. “He kind of showed me the way around for so many years, and then to be on the same podium, was something extra. I knew I’d always be one step/place under him.”
At the 2021 World Championship in Stockholm, Sweden, Majorov earned his home country a men’s slot for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. He was rewarded with the Beijing assignment. It was a dream come true.
His 2022 fall schedule included a Grand Prix and two Challenger Series assignments.
After the Swedish National Championships in December, Majorov had a serious decision to make. He had been struggling with a nagging back injury that was accelerated by his repetitive jumping passes. He needed a break, so he opted to take some time off to focus on recovery and rehab.
The athlete had always been interested in ice dance, but never taken it seriously. A break from singles training would give him this opportunity. He admired Japanese hero Daisuke Takahashi, who was 10 years older than Majorov when he transitioned from singles to ice dance. Majorov felt it was the right path for him.
“I loved ice dance because of the creativity and skating in a team. I never had the chance to actually try it for real. Then came the injury. I had a really tough time mentally at the same time. It was not a fun six months. After Nationals, I was not going to be sad and depressed I had to take a break,” he confessed.
“I took advantage of ice dance and loved it. I skated maybe 25/30 hours testing it out. I mostly worked on learning how to skate with someone at the same time since I’m not used to it. Sadly, my parents couldn’t help me so much because ice dance is soooooooo different from single skating.”
The ice dance training pointed him toward the path he wanted to take. The next step was finding a partner.
“I’ve known Milla for many years. She was at camps as a single skater in Lulea (SWE) where we used to live, and we were still in touch,” Majorov said. “When I was in Norway, I had some time. I wanted to skate together just so I could get more knowledge about the sport.”
Reitan related the experience. “He asked if we could skate for fun due to he had started testing ice dance after his injury. We skated together and really enjoyed it.”
“I knew from the first time we skated, I had to be skating with her,” Majorov confessed.
“Sadly, I had not skated a lot with a partner due to my previous partner’s injury,” Reitan explained, “but I knew that I had a good amount of technical knowledge that I could teach Nikolaj.”
“A month later we were in Oberstdorf skating for Sweden,” Reitan confirmed.
All new teams usually face adjustments, especially when one partner is new to the discipline.
Majorov was quite vocal about his biggest challenge. “It has been getting the technique of the most basic things just because they are so different from what I have been doing as a single skater for 20 years. The shoulders, arms, head, back – everything is almost the opposite.”
“The easiest stuff has been the lifts,” he admitted. “Milla is very acrobatic, and it makes for really good teamwork. We are doing lifts both never tried before and especially I never thought I could do.”
New teams often look to other partnerships as a beacon to follow as they begin their ice dance journeys. Reitan and Majorov also have their favorites.
Milla has always looked up to Aleksandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin, while Nikolaj loved Ekaterina Bobrova & Dimitri Soloviev’s programs because there was always a good theme and story behind them.
Reitan and Majorov hope to start competitions as soon as possible and are also anxious to be ready for the Swedish Championships.
This Scandinavian partnership brings a new and special uniqueness to the discipline. As jokingly noted by Majorov, “The best is that we both speak Norwegian/Swedish that no one understands in the [German] rink.”