• Aly Leia Wein

Meet Milly Murdock



On the surface, American singles skater Milly Murdock shines like a Tiffany diamond, glittering under pretty dresses and mounds of medals. But behind the sparkle and success is a hardworking powerhouse with an unbreakable spirit. When a back injury threatened to derail her blossoming skating career, Milly forged ahead with fierce determination and emerged stronger than ever before. Succeeding in this brutal sport (especially in the crowded discipline of ladies' singles) takes a champion mentality, a relentless work ethic, and an unwavering love of skating - all qualities that Milly has in spades. She's won more Regionals and Sectionals than anyone can count and is currently the junior US National bronze medalist, but what really makes Milly stand out is the content of her character and the way she exemplifies #WeGetUp. Milly is not only surviving the elite skating world, she's truly thriving in it - and smiling every step of the way.


QUICK FACTS


Birthday: November 17th, 2002 (16 years old)

Born: Greenwich, Connecticut, USA

Hometown: Darien, Connecticut, USA

Currently: Boston, Massachusetts, USA


Country Represented: USA

Skating Club: SC of San Francisco

Discipline: Ladies' Singles

Level: Junior


Training Location: Mitchell Johansson Method @ Cronin Skating Rink in Revere, Massachusetts, USA

Coach: Mark Mitchell, Peter Johansson

Boots: Edea Ice Fly

Blades: John Wilson Gold Seal Revolution


Outside edge game strong (Photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki, Boston Herald)


QUESTIONS


Q: You grew up in Connecticut, fell in love with skating, and now you're one of the top junior ladies' singles skaters in the country. So how did it all begin, and what made you want to figure skate?

A: My mom was a figure skater, and when I was little, she taught basic skills at a local rink in Connecticut. When I was around the age of two, she brought me with her to coach because she couldn't find a babysitter. I don’t remember when I took my first steps on the ice, but my mom says that one day I got up and started skating over to her when I needed her!


Q: You're definitely a natural on the ice, and as you got more serious with the sport, you started making the commute to train in Hackensack, New Jersey, and Long Island, New York - when did you know that you wanted skating to be more than just a hobby?

A: I knew I wanted to only figure skate around fourth/fifth grade. Growing up, I played a lot of different sports, such as hockey, soccer, tennis, and gymnastics. I started to get serious about gymnastics when I was little, but my mom thought that the sport was too dangerous. I always loved skating the most because it had an artistic side while still having the challenge of an athletic side.


Milly then and now!


Q: After winning silver at 2015 Nationals (in juvenile), you moved up to intermediate and also moved with your mom to Boston to start training at Mitchell Johansson Method. What drew you to MJM, and what do you think makes it different from all the other skating schools in the country?

A: At the start of 2016, I knew I wanted a change and had always heard about the awesome program in Boston with Mark and Peter. I had always wanted to switch to them, yet the timing was never right with leaving the rest of my family and moving to Boston. I was drawn to MJM because it was a unique program that had everything. When I went to visit MJM, I realized that it was more than a training facility; it was a family where everyone believes in each other and all have the same goal of excelling in the sport.


Q: In 2017, you once again won silver at Nationals - this time in intermediate — and then faced some major challenges when you fractured your back and were out for six months. Injuries are never easy, especially ones of that magnitude. What was that time like for you (both physically and emotionally), and what was your recovery process like?

A: When my doctor first told me about my back, I was sad yet relieved at the same time; I had been in a lot of pain and knew that something wasn’t right. I was ready to take the time off I needed to allow my body to heal. During my time off the ice, I did a lot of visualization of the jumps I had and also new jumps I hoped to get when I got back on the ice. I took the maximum time off, coming back extremely slowly - it was hard, but I wanted to make sure that I let my body fully heal before I got back on the ice full-time. I was off the ice for six weeks, came back to stroking at around eight weeks, and started single jumps at nine weeks, slowly progressing from there. At six months, I was nearly healed and got the green light to start on new jumps and finally start spinning again. Spins were the last thing I was able to do.


Not even a back injury could stop this determined gal from chasing her dreams!

(Left and right photos by Smartbody Movement, center photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki/Boston Herald)


Q: The fact that you bounced back from your injury and subsequently moved up to novice is awesome, and it's even more awesome that you went right back to competition and won gold at the Cranberry Open, Boston Open, Colonial Open, and Regionals the season following your injury. What advice do you have for skaters coming back from difficult injuries, and how do you keep your mindset positive during hard times?

A: Since I had been off the ice for such a long time, I was so thankful every time I stepped back on the ice. I would say the most important thing to any athlete in any sport who is injured is to constantly be grateful for your injury. It sounds weird, but I believe that injuries are part of what make us stronger. I would have never started pilates, physical therapy, gyrotonics, stretching, etc. if it wasn't for my injury. I learned a lot about how to maintain my body and how to recover from injuries. I am forever grateful for the process that I went through, and I would not be the skater I am today without it.


Q: This year was a big one for you, as you moved up to junior AND officially got on Team USA - and you won silver at your first two international assignments! What does representing Team USA mean to you, and how excited were you when you got the news?!

A: I had dreamed of making it on Team USA for so long - when I first got the news I was completely shocked and so excited! I love traveling, so being able to go to Europe that first time was awesome. It is an incredible feeling hearing them call your name and say, “representing the United States of America." I felt very proud to have the opportunity to represent my country and was thrilled to be there.


#TeamMilly ! #TeamMJM ! #TeamUSA !


Q: What does a typical day in the life of Milly Murdock look like, and how do you balance school and skating?

A: I attend a day school in Boston, although I used to be online schooled. I wake up and take the T (commuter train) to school every morning around 7:30 AM. At school, I take four classes and finish at 11:15 AM, and my mom picks me up to bring me to the rink. I usually get on the ice at 11:45 AM after a quick warmup; I then skate one session and break for an hour. During my break, I will use the off-ice spinner, catch up on homework, and eat my lunch. Then, I skate two more sessions, workout, and depending on the day, I will either do dance, PT, acupuncture, pilates, or gyrotonic. Once I get home around 5 or 6 PM, I do homework, hang out with my friends, eat dinner, and head to bed around 10 to 11 PM.


Q: I love the YouTube channel that you made with your friend - and fellow skater - Indi Cha. What are some of your other interests outside of skating, and what do you like to do in your free time?

A: I love researching travel spots and planning out my future trips. I also love photography. I love spending time with friends, going shopping, and taking cool pictures. I am really into nutrition and finding different healthy foods that will fuel your body and are packed with nutrients. A few of my faves are chia seeds, spirulina, goji berries, and dark chocolate!


Good food, good friends... who could ask for anything more?!


Q: You and the podium must be best friends by now since I don't think you finished off of it all season! After winning your Regionals and Sectionals, you took bronze at junior US Nationals two months ago. It's a huge accomplishment, especially considering the stiff competition in junior ladies. Looking back on this season, what were some highlights for you?

A: Competing in Croatia and Germany were definitely highlights from the last season. At the Bavarian Open, it was in the Alps and is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. Another favorite moment of mine was when my teammate Gabbie and I had just realized that we had medaled at Nationals, and we just laid on the ground of the locker room in awe. We were there for what felt like half an hour and just couldn’t believe what had happened.


Q: What is your game plan for the next season and beyond? And is college in that plan?

A: My focus right now is to get a consistent triple-triple combination and make it back to Nationals as a senior lady in 2020, though I plan to compete internationally as a junior. I would also love to get a medal at a Junior Grand Prix this year and compete a lot internationally. I have bigger goals in skating, but as of right now those are my goals for the upcoming season. I will probably take a gap year and then see what I want to do after that, but I do plan on attending college.


The best of both worlds! (Left photo by Melanie Heaney Photography)


LIGHTNING ROUND


What cheers you up when you're sad?

Hugs :)


Who do you look up to in the skating world?

Sasha Cohen


Favorite and least favorite subject in school?

Favorite - History

Least Favorite - Science


If you were a cereal, which one would you be and why?

Kashi cereal because it's my favorite cereal, especially with almond milk and berries


Favorite program you've ever done?

I love every program so much, I couldn’t choose a favorite!


Lacing up for success (Photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki, Boston Herald)


Dream vacation?

Machu Picchu, Positano, Italy, or Cape Town, South Africa


Who makes you laugh the most?

My friends


If you were an ice dancer, who would you want as your partner and why?

Charlie White because I think his dogs are adorable


What are you most proud of?

My family and how positive and hardworking everyone is


Quote to live by?

“Remember when you wanted what you currently have?” because it reminds me of how far I have come and to always be grateful.


Don't forget to FALL-ow Milly on social media!


KEEP UP WITH MILLY


Instagram: @milly.murdock

YouTube: Milly & Indi


Follow Milly on Instagram to stay updated on her exciting skating journey, and subscribe to her and Indi's YouTube channel to tag along on their adventures on and off the ice!


All other photos courtesy of Milly Murdock