Jimmy Morgan and Alex Shaughnessy enter the senior ranks at Nationals
The first time Jimmy Morgan and Alex Shaughnessy skated together, there was no magic spark. They’d only recently met through their coaches’ introduction, and both of the figure skaters—aged 16 at the time—had only skated solo before.
“It was incredibly business-like,” Shaughnessy remembers. “Jimmy was so shy, and I thought he was a little weird because he didn’t talk. I basically bossed him around for a little while.”
Four years later, they’re competing among the nation’s elite at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at TD Garden. It’s the pair’s fourth time at Nationals, but only their first time at the senior level.
To prepare for the competition, they’ve been training intensely for hours each day at the Skating Club of Boston. “We’re really pushing our limits,” Shaughnessy says.
All the while, they’re also managing the challenges of being college students—Morgan is a public relations major at Boston University, while Shaughnessy is studying business management at Northeastern. “It’s kind of a natural balancing act,” Morgan says of their busy lives. “We always say we find it easier to keep working because once you stop it’s a lot harder to ramp back up again. … With good planning it can work really well. It gives your mind something to think about besides skating.” Morgan blogs about his and other figure skaters’ experiences at The Social Athlete.
They plan to continue competing “until we’re not having fun anymore,” Morgan says—but don’t expect to see either of them paired up with anyone else. “We don’t see the possibility of ever skating with another person.” “For some people the skating part is very business-like and will get you where you need to be and then you’ll move on,” Shaughnessy adds. But skating with someone besides Morgan would be like “putting on someone else’s shoes. It’s not natural. I could never do it.”
For the record, the close-knit pair keeps their relationship purely platonic, yet their close bond helps them stand out from other competitors. “I think our friendship on the ice and how we perform with each other is what stands out to the judges and everyone,” Shaughnessy says. “You can tell we have a lot of empathy for each other.”