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Interview With Jimmy Morgan

Photograph of American figure skater Jimmy Morgan

Hailing from the land of the cream donut (Homer Simpson drool), Boston's Jimmy Morgan is one of those rare hybrid skater/students who seems to be able to balance a full-time post secondary education with a career as an elite athlete... which leads us to explore the possibility he's in fact some sort of fabulous handsome robot. Robot he's not, but a skater who's going places he is. With his partner Alex Shaughnessy, he won a bronze medal on the novice level at U.S. Nationals in 2012 after finishing 5th as novices in 2011. Moving up to the junior ranks last year, Alex and Jimmy finished in the top ten in their third consecutive trip to U.S. Nationals. This interview with Jimmy takes a look at Jimmy and Alex's progress and plans for this season, Jimmy's remarkable balance of school and skating and how he maintains a positive attitude:

Q: In 2012, you and your partner Alex Shaughnessy won a medal on the novice level at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Having moved up and competed at Nationals as juniors last season, what do you consider to be the biggest differences and challenges from moving from novice to junior?

A: Aside from the obvious "we're doing harder stuff" answer, I'd have to say confidence. You are constantly being judged as a skater, whether you're on the ice or not. Being confident allows you to portray that you belong in the big leagues. My biggest challenge will be to become more confident in an area of skating that I have very little experience in: the big leagues.

Q: Will you be remaining as juniors this season or moving up to compete as seniors? What are your utmost goals for the 2013/2014 season?

A: We just passed our senior pair test! It was such an exciting day while being a big relief. Now, we can focus on improving our skating. The sky's the limit! We will be competing senior this year. We hope to make it to Nationals in our hometown this year.

Photograph of American figure skater Jimmy Morgan skating in a pair

Q: Do you think homophobia is a problem in skating and is it something you've ever encountered? What are your thoughts on the issues surrounding homophobia in Russia and the Sochi Games?

A: Homophobia is a problem everywhere, not just in skating. However, it's not the only type of discrimination in the world. People are discriminated against in countless other ways including their race, sex, and religion. Punishing the athletes who have worked so hard their whole lives by boycotting the Games is wrong, and could be more fairly resolved by allowing the athletes to choose on an individual basis.

Q: What can you share about your programs for this season? How did you decide on music and what do you like the most about your new programs?

A: We are skating to an Argentine tango for our short program, and "Umbrellas of Cherbourg" for our long. We decided on the music after seeing Julie Marcotte in Canada and skating with her for a day. After seeing our past programs, and how we relate to each other, she knew exactly what she wanted to see us skate to. I love the challenge that these two programs bring to the table. The short program allows me to step outside my "romantic, I love Alex" comfort zone and do something different. While the long allows us to do what we do best!

Q: What do you enjoy most about pairs skating as opposed to singles skating? What is your favourite and least favourite element?

A: Pairs skating is so much more fun (sorry singles guys!)... but it's true. There's just something about being able to share the ice with someone that creates a contrasting dynamic that you just don't get in singles skating. My favorite elements are lifts. There's so many variations that each one can be unique. My least favorite elements are side by side spins. Getting those babies to sync up is a PAIN.

Q: What do you think are the most improved areas of your skating in the last 6 months?

A: We've improved our general skating and choreography a lot. Injuries allowed us to focus on what will make us a great senior team down the road. We worked on choreography and skating skills because in time, the technical side will come. Sometimes, you just can't work on your skating enough.

Q: What's one thing most people don't know about you?

A: I'm a full-time student at BU, and I love it! It keeps me sane. I study P.R. at the College of Communication and it has been the most rewarding experience paired with skating. I was lucky enough to land an internship with the Boston 2014 U.S. Championships Marketing Team, and have been able to combine my expertise in skating with my knowledge from school. So, if you ever see @BOS2014 tweeting, make sure to say hi. (Psssst - It's me.)

Q: What is the most interesting thing you've learned about life by attending school and how have you applied that to your skating?

A: Find something that you love to do, and stick to it. I started out school as a chemistry major. Big mistake. I learned that standing in a lab all day was something that I did not enjoy. So, I went on to become a computer science major. Slightly less of a mistake, but I still wasn't enjoying myself. The day I found P.R., I knew that this is where I belonged. In the same way, I found my love for skating. I slowly weeded out what didn't interest me like soccer and karate to find the thing that I love to do most, and I'm stickin' to it.

Q: What would be your absolute favourite meal - appetizer, dinner and dessert?

A: Appetizer - It's a tie between a really delicious plate of fried calarmari with banana peppers, or the bread from Not Your Average Joe's. Dinner - ANYTHING with pesto on it. Seriously, I'm obsessed. Dessert - Mint chocolate chip ice cream is my jam.

Q: What's one song you can't get out of your head right now?

A: I love music, so I usually have at least ten songs floating though my head at any time. Right now, the concert in my head is featuring Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Emeli Sande, Green Day, Ke$ha, Matchbox 20, MIKA, and Fun.

Photograph of American figure skater Jimmy Morgan

Q: How do you think we can interest more people in the sport?

A: Skating needs to become more accessible. People aren't motivated enough to seek out skating. We have to go to them. So many of my friends from school, who wouldn't be caught dead in a skating rink, have become interested in the sport because they have been exposed to it through me. I think skaters ultimately need to become ambassadors for figure skating. Let's take it into our own hands and show that we participate in a really interesting sport!

Q: On those days when things aren't going well on the ice, what reminds you how much you love skating?

A: I have an awesome support team. Knowing that the people who care about me the most are behind me every step of the way allows me the security to allow myself to do it because I love it. My dad has always said, "Do it until it becomes a 'Have to Do'". I live by that motto. I started skating because I love it, and I will stop when I don't love it anymore. Having a bad day on the ice doesn't change the fact that I love what I do.

Skate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating. Over ten years, the blog has featured over a thousand free articles covering all aspects of the sport's history, as well as four compelling in-depth features. To read the latest articles, follow the blog on FacebookTwitterPinterest and YouTube. If you enjoy Skate Guard, please show your support for this archive by ordering a copy of the figure skating reference books "The Almanac of Canadian Figure Skating", "Technical Merit: A History of Figure Skating Jumps" and "A Bibliography of Figure Skating":