As 2012 Olympian Brittany Rogers prepares to fight for a spot on the Canadian team at this fall's world championships in Glasgow, she is reveling in the latest challenge of her long career.
As 2012 Olympic vault finalist Brittany Rogers prepares to fight for a spot on the Canadian team at this fall's world championships in Glasgow, she is reveling in the latest challenge of her long career.
"I don't think I have ever trained this many hours in my gymnastics career, but it is definitely paying off," said the 22-year-old Rogers.
Rogers is taking a leave from the University of Georgia in the U.S. so she can train for Glasgow. Since representing Canada at the 2012 London Olympics, the British Columbian has been competing in the NCAA as a member of the university's team.
Rogers also has her sights set on next summer's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, for which Glasgow will be an important step. She is training at Calgary Gymnastics Center under coaches David Kenwright (vault and uneven bars) and Janna Ball (balance beam and floor exercise).
In this IG Online interview, Rogers outlines her return to international form, and the perspectives she has gained on her quest to return to Olympic competition.
Rogers performs on floor exercise for the University of Georgia.
IG: How have you managed to adapt your routines to the international level, and also adapt to training more hours, versus NCAA?
BR: Transitioning from NCAA to elite has definitely not been a piece a cake; however, I'm enjoying the challenge! I have added several new skills and connections on both bars and beam to obtain a higher D(ifficulty) score. The skills alone are ones that I have worked on before, or have thought about trying, so now I am "waking them up." The biggest challenge for me has been putting them into my routines, and obtaining consistency with them. NCAA routines are shorter than elite routines, so the challenge is not completing them like I do for my elite routines.
However, I feel as though NCAA routines require more precision and perfection. Combining the two qualities into one routine is definitely something that I know will help me in the long run. I don't think I have ever trained this many hours in my gymnastics career, but it is definitely paying off! My days are packed in both college and club gymnastics, but in different ways.
Finding the balance between gymnastics and academics was a challenge for me coming into college, but I believe it has set me up nicely for coming back to elite gymnastics and the real world by preparing me for long days.
Rogers as a first-year senior representing Canada at the 2009 Worlds in London
IG: What has been your biggest challenge in this comeback?
BR: The biggest challenge has probably been accepting the fact that this process is not going to be easy. Some days I forget that I am no longer 13 years old and can flip for endless amounts of hours, but that my body takes a bit more of catering to. I've definitely had to pay more attention to making sure my body gets the recovery it needs in order to be at its best every day. I enjoying challenging myself to new skills and new connections, and I am learning to enjoy how the not-so-good days can in fact help me get to and enjoy the great days.
IG: Of the progress you've made since deciding to go for worlds, what do you feel is your most significant breakthrough?
BR: Bars has definitely been something I am excited about. The new Code (of Points) is all about connections, so pushing myself to connect release moves, and low to high bar skills, has been fun and rewarding. Bars has always been my favorite event, and now that there is an extra challenge to it, it makes me love bars even more. I have also been working hard on cleaning up my vault, and working on upgrading both of my vaults, which is always exciting. Beam has never been a strong event for me. However, I feel my confidence growing every turn I take on beam, and to me that is a huge accomplishment.
IG: What are the next steps in making it to Glasgow?
BR: There is a (Canadian) worlds team selection camp from September 16-21 in Montreal. I am unsure of the actual process that is taking place in making the final decision of the team; however, I am ready to do whatever Canada needs me to do.
IG: From what we saw in the last NCAA season, and the glimpses of your training since you temporarily left Georgia, you seem to be stronger and fitter than ever. To what do you attribute your newfound fitness and confidence level?
BR: Thank you! Everybody progresses at his or her own pace. I feel as though, since coming to college, I have learned all about that, which has helped me develop into who I am today. I have had tremendous support and opportunities to learn about my health and fitness through the nutritionist and strength coach at Georgia, and my own personal interest in health has helped me along the way, as well. I went through some strange transitions and crazy growth spurts growing up, and I believe my body has finally settled into itself.
Georgia has been life-changing in a sense of my confidence. Not only am I competing every weekend to help stabilize my confidence in front of judges and large crowds in the gymnastics world, but I am also gaining independence due to moving away from home into a different country, and that has helped me become more confident in realizing who I am as a person, and not just a gymnast.
I am extremely grateful for the support from UGA and my team, as well as my coaches and teammates in Calgary. Without either of them, this comeback would not have been possible, and for them I will always be appreciative for this amazing opportunity. Also, my family is without a doubt the major reason why I am who I am today, and I could not be happier for them joining me in this stressful but exciting journey again. They'll always be my biggest fans.
International Gymnast magazine first profiled Brittany Rogers in the July/August 2007 issue, and featured an in-depth interview with her in May 2012. To order back issues, or subscribe to the print and/or digital edition of International Gymnast magazine, click here.