Meet Dmitre Razgulajevs
On the outside, Dmitre Razgulajevs is a proud Canadian, a talented ice dancer, and the on- and off-ice partner to his love, Molly Lanaghan. But beyond his emotional performances and indomitable work ethic, he is a golden-hearted goofball with one of the best senses of humor I've ever come across. Dmitre even insisted on me using pictures of him making silly faces for the cover photo, in order to "show what he looks like normally." It was such a blast talking with Dmitre about everything from being coached by his dad to his secret dream of owning a boat - read more below!
Birthday: December 19th, 1996 (22 years old)
Born: Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
Hometown: Ajax, Ontario, Canada
Hometown: Ajax, Ontario, Canada
Country Represented: Canada
Skating Club: Scarboro FSC
Discipline: Ice Dance
Partner: Molly Lanaghan
Training location: Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
Coach: Carol Lane, Jon Lane, Juris Razgulajevs
Boots: Jackson Ultima
Blades: Jackson Ultima
These two are a perfect match in every way (photo by Harumi Akabane)
Q: You were born in America to Latvian parents and moved to Canada a few years later - do you consider Canada to be your home, or does the USA have a special place in your heart as well?
A: The Great White North is my home, always will be. I moved here at the age of four, so I have very minimal memories from the US. I've skated my whole life in Canada and always represented Canada!
Q: Your father, Juris Razgulajevs, actually competed in ice dance for the Soviet Union, Latvia, Uzbekistan, and Japan (that's a lot of countries!). Did he encourage you to start skating?
A: Yes, as long as I can remember I was on skates; it feels natural and in my blood. My father is very amazing on the ice, and it always made me want to follow in his footsteps. He did encourage me, and he sure as hell motivates me. My parents have always supported my brother and I in our decisions, so the older I've gotten the more I wanted to skate; my younger brother wanted to play hockey.
Major father/son #throwback
Q: You previously skated with Katie Desveaux and Mackenzie Bent before teaming up with British ice dancer Molly Lanaghan in 2017. How did you and Molly get paired up, and how come you decided to represent Canada instead of her native Great Britain?
A: Well after Mackenzie and I parted ways, I had a couple standard tryouts lined up. But none sparked. Molly was coming to Scarborough to try out with another British skater who skated with Ice Dance Elite, so we ended up doing a spontaneous double try out. It was a perfect match for Molly and I! We spent a lot of time together during those weeks, as I was her chauffeur and tour guide, so we had an instant connection on the ice and off! People had bets on how long it would take Molly and I to become a couple. I am very glad on how everything turned out!
It was my preference to represent Canada; I told Molly from the beginning that my dream is to go to the Olympics with a maple leaf on my back. I think that Molly is very happy to represent Canada now.
Q: Like I mentioned in our interview with Molly, you guys are a real-life couple in addition to being one on the ice! From your perspective, why do you and Molly work so well together on and off the ice, and what advice do you have for other couples in your position?
A: We just had an instant connection on and off the ice. Our personalities match well. We spend so much time laughing. She is hilarious! We have tons of fun doing activities and adventures, and also on my days off of work we have a blast, even when we are just relaxing at home. It was a huge bonus that we both love the TV show Friends too. It is truly amazing to be with your skating partner because every competition and international event is such a bonus with the traveling, stories, and memories I get to share with my girl.
The biggest piece of advice for anyone in the position that Molly and I are in is that this relationship is just like any other relationship. It takes time and work and is constantly evolving and maturing. We fight, we laugh, we love, and we grow. So no matter what, we never give up on one another, and we always push one another to grow. Also, biggest advice is to listen. Listen to one another absorb the information, think, and fix whatever needs to be fixed.
Q: And speaking of dealing with the personal vs. the professional, your dad Juris is actually one of your coaches. How has that dynamic worked out, and does he critique your twizzles at family dinners or anything?!
A: Skating is a huge part of my family because not only is my dad my on-ice coach, but my mom is our club's off-ice coach. The dynamic was hard when I was younger, as I was not as motivated or serious. The older I get, the more my father and I think alike and the harder we push one another. Of course some days it's hard to see him as a coach; I'll see him as my father, and we'll bash heads on the ice. But usually a little time apart will help us get back to normal. My parents have been very amazing about separating skating from our personal lives. When we are at home we don't typically talk about skating, unless if we are watching a competition on the TV. At family dinners, we typically talk about each other's days, or my brother puts on a comedy act and makes everyone die from laughter... or we will play Monopoly and somebody will get upset and throw the board!
Q: What do you love about training a) at Scarborough, b) under coaches Jon and Carol Lane, and c) alongside Olympians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier?
A: I am going to reference the end of Thor Ragnarok - "it's not about the place, it's about the people." The arena in itself is not the nicest; it's damn cold and sometimes it snows and rains inside... but the people. The coaches, the athletes, the family... it's literally my family. My dad is my main coach, my mom is my off-ice coach, my cousin also trains with Ice Dance Elite, and Carol and Jon have helped raise me since I was four years old. I've been training alongside Paul since I was eight years old, and he is a huge inspiration. Now I'm going to reference Rocky... Paul has been knocked down and gotten back up more times than anybody else I know. Piper has been an amazing training mate, and her motivation is incredible. I truly have so many people at Scarborough that I can learn from. Be sure to check out our team's Instagram page @IceDanceElite! I came to Scarborough to learn how to just stand on the ice at the age of four, and myself including a few others are still here and can now do incredible things. Jon, Carol, Juris, and the loads of other coaches each leave a huge impact on all of their pupils' lives. We would not be the people we are without them. I've heard we leave a strong positive impact on everyone who has trained at Ice Dance Elite.
Center: Dmitre's dad Juris, mom Irina, partner Molly, and coach Carol Lane
Left and Right: Dmitre and Paul Poirier's bromance
Q: Who were some of your biggest skating inspirations growing up, and likewise, what do you think makes you and Molly stand out as an ice dance team, both technically and artistically?
A: Honestly for me it was always my dad. The man is kind of annoying sometimes - I mean seriously. Myself and the other fellows at the rink will say that something is impossible, and he will take the first girl's hand and do the move, or the lift, or the spin, as if it's nothing. Seriously he can literally do a comeback right now and probably do better than most of us, that is for sure. Besides Juris, and a few of the other legends out there, a big inspiration for me is The Rock, he can literally make any movie and kill the box office.
I think that people will enjoy our connection. We really enjoy performing together, and I think that we make it look real and natural. I don't like to watch myself, but I think that we do a good job at making it easy for people to understand what story we are trying to tell. On the technical side of our skating, I think that we have a good, smooth glide over the ice. But we have tons more work to do. We do a lot of basics on the ice, and that helps us a lot.
Q: What is a typical day like in the life of Molly and Dmitre, since you two live together as well?
A: Typically we will train, do some type of off-ice, and on Thursdays and Sundays we will hang out - which consists of a tiny bit of arguing, some activities, and loads of laughing. Sometimes we go on adventures. But any day that is not those two days, after skating and off-ice, I'll go to work until late at night and then sleep. During that time you have to ask Molly what she gets up to!
Dmitre being the gentleman that he is and carrying Molly's bags for her
Q: Looking ahead to the next few seasons leading up to the Olympics, what do you hope to accomplish in both your skating life and personal life?
A: Skating wise, we just want to leave a mark and kick some ass. We will always skate for the audience, so as long as people are enjoying our performances we are happy. Personal life, that is a big open canvas for Molly and myself. Our dreams are constantly evolving and changing. Luckily, we both see one another in those aspirations though. So we will just have to wait and see where those dreams take us in the future.
I understand that for a journalist, that is not the most interesting answer. So I will just be totally honest and tell you my current silly dream. For a while now, I've been trying to convince Molly that we should buy a sailboat after skating and live on the water and never stop moving. But there is a problem with that dream of mine: I don't like being in the same place. I constantly need to have a different view. Whereas Molly likes having a routine... oh and she has a killer fear of H2O.
Q: What was the best advice that anyone ever gave you, in regards to skating?
A: Heads up! If they didn't give me that advice, I might have a blade in my head.
Head over heels in love (photo by Jason Payne)
What languages do you speak?
English, Russian, French (if I try very hard)
Last song you listened to?
"Wow" by Post Malone
If you were a drink, which one would you be?
Sex on the Beach
Approximate number of hours you spend on a plane per year?
Not as much as you think @ Skate Canada
What quality do you love the most about Molly?
"One hand, one heart" (Photos by @ivimages)
In your opinion, what's the biggest issue in the skating world today?
Current Netflix obsession?
Anything David Attenborough
What would the title of your autobiography be?
Life of Big D
If you weren't a skater, what would you do?
Probably build something with Lego
Quote to live by?
"We're here for a good time not a long time."
Onwards and upwards!
Keep up with Dmitre
Team Instagram: @team_dilly
Team Facebook: Molly Lanaghan & Dmitre Razgulajevs
And check out Molly & Dmitre's GoFundMe page to support them as they chase their dreams!
Read our interview with the lovely Molly here.
All other photos courtesy of Dmitre Razgulajevs