Home Figure Skating News History-maker Majorov looks to improve

History-maker Majorov looks to improve

by Tatjana Flade
Robin Ritoss

Alexander Majorov

Sweden's Alexander Majorov performs to music from the Austin Powers soundtrack at the 2011 World Junior Figure Skating Championships.

Alexander Majorov made figure skating history this March when he won Sweden’s first ever medal at the 2011 Junior World Figure Skating Championships. His bronze was also the first ISU Championship medal for Sweden in 74 years. The last medal dated back to 1937 when Vivi-Anne Hulten took the bronze at the World Championships.

“I didn’t expect a top-three placement at Junior Worlds and I was really surprised and happy,” said Majorov. “It (the medal) is a huge thing for me and for the whole federation.”

Majorov was born in Russia in 1991, but moved with his parents to Sweden when he was one year old. Both his parents are figure skating coaches and are coaching him and his younger brother Nikolai who he sometimes skates with. His father, Alexander Majorov Sr., was the first coach of Alexei Yagudin back in St. Petersburg.

Majorov sees both the pros and cons of being coached by his parents.

“When things are not going well, there can be irritations at home – or irritations from practice are taken home,” he noted. “It is harder to forget things in the family. The advantage is that I can always train with them. They work in figure skating and don’t do anything else, so if I need help they’ll always help me.”

The skater and his family live in Lulea in Sweden and Majorov is still going to school where he is attending the “gymnasium (lycee)” now. In Sweden, regular school is from the first to the ninth grade and then there are three years in the gymnasium before you can go to university.

“I have finished three years in the gymnasium, but I stretched it to four years,” he explained. “I take less classes.”

This helps him to combine school with high-level skating. He has one more year left of school, but hasn’t decided yet if (and what), he will study afterwards.

“I’ll have to think about it next year,” said the 20-year-old. “I am interested in physiology like as a sports physician, but in Sweden this isn’t such a good job. You would sit in the office and treat people that are not athletes. I also think about going to the police. This could be interesting, too.”

Coaching, however, is not a career that he would like to have. “I don’t want to work as a coach – maybe just in a summer camp,” he commented.

Majorov was put on to the ice by his parents as a young boy, but his first real memory of skating was his first trip to Swedish Nationals where he finished fourth in the novice division.

“After that I started to train more seriously,” he recalled. “I started to take part in more competitions and I improved.”

Majorov debuted as a novice skater in international competition in 2004 and finished eighth in the Triglav Trophy. His idol in the sport is another skater from his old hometown of St. Petersburg, Evgeni Plushenko.

“I admire the consistency of his jumps,” pointed out Majorov. “This is unique. Plushenko has the jumps. Other athletes skate nicely or have beautiful spins, but Plushenko is my number one for jumps.”

Consistency is something that the Swede still needs to improve upon, however, he has already made a lot of progress in that area. He had two strong performances at the 2011 Junior World Figure Skating Championships and was selected for the 2011 World Championships in Moscow.

“At Junior Worlds, I was much more consistent than I used to be,” Majorov observed. “Sometimes the short program wasn’t so good, but then I came back in the free skating. I have trained a lot in the past two years to gain consistency. Now you can see it.”

Junior Worlds was a big step for Majorov – not only because of the bronze medal, but also because he landed his first triple Axel-triple toe in competition.

“I only did it in practice before,” he revealed. “This is a very difficult combination. I only did it at home and in Korea in practice just once. So when I went out, I was deciding if I should do it or not. I jumped and it worked. I decided on the spot. There was a risk, but I felt that it would work.”

“I am having less falls and this is good,” he underlined and recalled his big disappointment in his debut at the 2009 European Figure Skating Championships when he crashed several times in the free skate. “That wasn’t funny, but I gained experienced from that. Now it doesn’t matter to me if there are TV cameras or many spectators. I don’t even think about that.”

Majorov was hoping to include the quad toe into his programs as he started to land it in practice at the end of the season. However, his preparation was hampered by a back injury.

“The back problems started right after Junior Worlds,” said coach and father Majorov, Sr. “The summer was difficult because we couldn’t work as much as we wanted due to the back pain.Things improved in the middle of August and we want to thank the doctors in St. Petersburg for their help. Alexander is now getting into shape and has his jumps back.”

However, the back problems also hampered his performances in his debut at the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships where he placed 28th.

On a positive note, practice conditions at home have improved. “Finally, we got consistent practice times for our training in the second half of the day,” the coach noted.

Majorov feels his first strength is in his jumps and jump combinations, and secondly, his choreography.

“I’ve been working on that,” he said, regarding his choreography. “I have also improved my endurance in the past years. I trained hard and I can push through my programs until the end.”

He names inconsistency as his weakness, but feels that he has improved.

Majorov describes his character as “funny, talkative and open-minded”. In his spare time he likes to relax at home.

“Then you just sit there and watch TV, because you don’t have energy left for anything else,” he admitted. “The first practice is at 8 am, then I go to school, and the second practice is maybe at four. It is not that you get tired from the training, but you are first on the ice, then you go to school, and then back on to the ice. Then you are tired when you get home. That’s on a normal day. Just relaxing, lying on the bed and watching television: that’s spare time for me.” In winter the skater enjoys also skiing.

Majorov, who holds dual citizenship, feels more Swedish than Russian and feels more comfortable speaking Swedish.

“We speak Russian (at home) and I know that my accent in Swedish is worse than the one of a Swedish-born person,” he admitted. “But when I am writing, tests in school for example, I am doing better than other Swedes. In Russia, I am a Russian and in Sweden I am a Swede.”

The skater has two new programs for the new season: Ludwig van Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata in an arrangement by Marcus Miller for the short program, and Bolero de Ravel by Gustavo Montesano from the album Flamenco Fantasy for the long.

Majorov would prefer if the rules would allow all kinds of music.

“My dream is to skate to a song with lyrics, because this is the best,” he said. “You could use all kind of music and it would be interesting to watch. It is very hard to find good music without lyrics. For example, Michael Jackson. His music is fantastic, but when you take away the voice, it doesn’t work and it gets boring. If they’d open up the music, the sport would gain from that.”

He is currently is scheduled to compete at the Finlandia Trophy and the Grand Prix Skate Canada.

“Additionally, we are also planning to come to two or three international competitions in November and December,” his father added.

The World Junior bronze medallist is looking for further improvement in the new season.

“My goal is to skate very well and to continue to skate as well as I did (at Junior Worlds). I want to enjoy my skating at competitions. When you are training hard and cannot show a result in competition, it is not interesting to train anymore. But when you are winning, you have new goals right away.”

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