Brittany Rogers: Keep The Dream Alive Part 1

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Brittany Rogers is a Canadian gymnast that just finished her freshman year competing for the University of Georgia. As a Gym Dog, she was always in the lineup on vault, bars, and beam, and made a few appearances on floor and in the all around. She boasts career highs of 9.95 on vault, bars, and beam, and a 9.9 on floor. Brittany Rogers was the 2013 SEC Uneven Bar and Balance Beam champion with 9.95s on both events.

Prior to coming to Georgia, Rogers was a member of the 2012 Canadian Olympic team that finished in 5th place in team finals, the highest ever for the Canadian women's team. Brittany Rogers was ranked 16th on uneven bars and went on to compete in the vault event finals where she finished in 7th place.

How has school been going?
Different than I expected for sure. It's a lot more challenging than I thought but overall, I'm having such a good time and I'm so glad I decided to come.

Let's go back to 2010 and talk about the ankle injury.
Broke it April of 2010 and I was put in a cast. I wasn't allowed to do anything. 3 months total, not weight bearing. It wasn't healing properly so I had surgery in November of 2010, cast until the New Year. Then I started training in April of 2011 and competed in May of 2011. So, basically, a whole year off from competing.

Could you tell us a little about 2011 and the lead up to selecting the Worlds team.
I didn't make the 2011 Worlds team because I was still pretty out of shape. My ankle was a little weak and I think I rushed into things a little bit. I started doing World Cups that fall. They're awesome. Basically, I just went for vault, bars, and beam, because floor was still in the works. I did quite a few. World Cups give you points and give you a spot at competing at the Olympic selection camp so I kept competing to get as many points as I could.

Could you talk about 2012 and the lead up to the Olympics?
I did a lot of World Cups leading up to National Championships in May which determined if you went to the trials in June. The whole 2012 year was non-stop which was why I took the 6 months off before I came to school because I was so fried and needed a break, but definitely worth it for sure. Olympic Trials were in June and then the top 5 girls went to the Olympics.

Could you tell us a little bit about the Olympic experience?
Think I was the first one to arrive to London. It's kinda like college with the dorms, and dining hall, and the gym. First arriving, you're just in awe and in shock of everything. You're like a little kid in a candy store really. You're just trying to take everything in. We trained there about 1 week 1 hour away, just as a training camp. Then we went on from there.

What was it like being in the Olympic village with athletes from all over the world?
It's kinda cool because I look up to a lot of them because of their accomplishments and where they're from. It's jaw-dropping knowing we're at the same level and it's anyone's game really. It motivated me to do even better.

Were there any athletes you were hoping to meet?
The whole American team is pretty cool to meet because there's so much hype about them but they're so down to earth. We would have lunch with them in the dining hall and it was really cool to connect with them on another level other than just gymnastics. The coolest person I met was Michael Phelps - he's a pretty big time athlete so that was pretty cool.

What were your hopes going into qualifications? Were you hoping to make bars or uneven bar event finals?
Mainly, it was to qualify the team into team finals. It was spread on top of the cake to make vault finals.  It was in the back of my mind to make vault finals because I love vault and it's always been my speciality. Bars has always been there too but definitely vault because I've made World Cup finals in vault. It was a dream come true making finals at the Olympics. Even saying that right now, I still have to question it. Did I really just do that?

Could you talk a little bit about TF?
I think someone told us we made history. We went into TF with the mentality that we had nothing to lose. We were the underdogs coming into it all so we just gave it our all. We put all the work in and it obviously paid off on the first day so why not continue it on the second day. We were so calm and we were ready to do whatever it took. I remember looking up at the crowd and everyone's so excited that you're there no matter what your name is or where you're from. Everyone is just excited to see you and watch the sport. That definitely helps. Looking up in the crowd, you just can't take the smile off your face! I know gymnasts are supposed to be focused and have this poker face but ... I just couldn't hold it in. I was so happy we were there! Once you got in your element, you look around and think, "Oh my God. This is intense!" You see the US over there, Russia over there. "Wow! We actually did this!" We tried to stay in our little bubble. I don't think any of us had voices at the end of the meet because we were all cheering each other on. It was unbelievable!

What was it like being in the vault finals with some of the greats and legends like Oksana Chusovitna?
I felt like the little ant. I felt like the peasant with a bunch of Queens! Obviously, they work up to be at that point and it's just motivating. It's a step in the right direction for me no matter the outcome. Obviously, you want to do as well as you can but to see you're in the range of the Queens of gymnastics is really inspiring.

Start at 4:10 - VT1 DTY 5.8/14.766; at 6:03 VT2 Y 1/2 on, 1/2 off 5.6/14.2

Just wondering, what did you think of Yamilet Pena's vault?
I don't think I've watched it from start to finish because it's quite terrifying. Oh my goodness! I give her props for even attempting that! I don't think I could watch it in full force. It's too scary!

Tell me about the 6 months after the Olympics, before starting at UGA.
It was actually pretty chill. I went to Portugal right after with my family. Then, I just took it easy. I was still training 6 days a week but was having so much fun with training. I actually was a normal teenager for a while and hung out with my family as much as I could since I knew I was leaving for school. I would actually be recognized at the grocery store. It was the weirdest thing! It's like I was the local celebrity. I spoke at a few elementary schools about my experience and did a bunch of showings, I guess. I went to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, for an Olympic parade which was really cool. There are definitely a lot of perks having the title of Olympian on your back now.

You tweeted about new D skills on bars. Could you tell us about that?
I learned... I learned basically a dream routine. I learned pak salto, Shaposhnikova, I learned front toe-on skills. I tried to put my Ricna release to the pak salto to back stalder full to Shaposh. I was just on a roll and having the time of my life! I learned my new dismount, full out, because my double arabian was hard to land and since you want to stick in college.

There's also a video of you doing an Amanar. Did you play around with that?
Yeah, I did that a few times into a mat. I knew I wouldn't compete internationally [since I was heading to school]. I knew I was literally just playing around and I knew I would have to downgrade for college so I might as well upgrade for now. I played with tumbling passes on floor and skills on beam. I felt like I was 10 years old again doing aimless tricks.

I tweeted you earlier about your tattoo. Do any of your classmates ever comment on it?
It's kinda weird. They ask me, "What's that for?" Oh, it's the Olympic rings. "Oh, ok cool. Are you a fan of the Olympics?" [Sarcastically] Yeah, like that's exactly why I got the tattoo. And other people are like "Oh, you're the Canadian Olympic gymnast." Yeah, that's me! So that's my other title - Canadian or Olympian. Other people are just like, "That is so cool and I admire you for that." I really love those types of comments.

Photo Credit: Triple Twist (original: Tyler Anderson)

Related: Tattoos!

Part 2 can be found here.