Gym Dogs vs. Oklahoma

Brittany Rogers performs on bars during a gymnastics meet between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Oklahoma Sooners at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., Saturday, January 5, 2013. (Evan Stichler, evansan8@gmail.com)

Brittany Rogers owns many unique skills for a collegiate gymnast.

Since the freshman was an elite gymnast in Canada, she has a large repertoire of skills to pick in choose from.

“I think she has a nice bag of tricks,” Georgia head coach Danna Durante said. “That usually happens when you come from the elite world because you do have all of these skills that you need to have.”

She even has a skill named after her called “The Rogers.”

To get a skill named after you in gymnastics, you must compete it at a World or Olympic Championship and submit it to the International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG).

The skill is a back handspring to a one-armed handstand facing sideways on the beam with her legs both bent in the double-stag position.

However, at the season opener against Oklahoma, Rogers only performed a variation of her skill — a handstand with two arms instead of just one.

Nevertheless, the fans were impressed.

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“In the competition when everyone wowed in the crowed,” Rogers said. “I’m pretty sure I was in handstand and had the hugest smile on my face.”

Rogers said she hopes to incorporate her own skill into her routine and wow the crowd even more.

“I’ve just got to get it consistent and not screw up on it,” Rogers said. “Then I’ll put it in my routine and hopefully wow them even more. And it’ll probably put an even bigger smile on my face upside down.”

It’s unusual for a freshman to have this much of an effect after only one meet.

But Rogers said she likes to stand out.

"The Rogers" isn’t the only impressive skill in her bag of tricks, as she performs other unorthodox moves on every event.

Most of the time, teams use the same routines over and over again because those are the skills that are easy and give the best result.

“I think it helps me stand out,” Rogers said. “Then people research me and find, ‘Oh, she’s from Canada. Oh, she’s a freshman. Oh, she’s an Olympian.’ It all kind of adds up, and it’s really cool that I can have those special skills.”

However, sometimes having so many skills can be a hindrance, but Durante said Rogers has learned to balance it well.

“It is about making that distinction between everything in the kitchen sink in the elite world and being able to step out of bounds or miss a skill and still score high versus college where everything you do needs to be exactly on top and clean and perfect form,” Durante said. “It’s more about preciseness versus the amount.”

Not only has finding the balance been difficult but merely settling into college life as well.

However, Rogers said she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’m one to kind of get the ball rolling as soon as I get here,” Rogers said. “I think if I would have gotten here in the fall semester, it would have been a different story, would have been slower adjusting and my first competition may not have gone as well. Right now I’m fresh and quick. It’s a really fast adjustment, but I’m loving it so far.”

Senior Shayla Worley said that Rogers’ arrival has upped the competition in the gym for spots in the lineup.

“She’s been a real breath of fresh air,” Worley said. “She really has come in on her game and driven that natural competition amongst our team to do your best and compete for your spot in the lineup, which is super healthy for any team.”

Coming from Canada, things were bound to be different for Rogers, but she said that the main difference is between elite gymnastics and college.

“The training is very different,” Rogers said. “After the first day, I was dead. I could not get off my couch. It’s just so compact, and being with the team, you’re always cheering people on and have support with you. Being in elite, you’re more individual, and you care more about yourself. You’re not looking around the gym; you just care what you’re doing.”

Worley said she’s impressed with how Rogers competed in her first meet.

“I’m just really proud of how she did this first meet,” Worley said. “Coming out of here new to the team, new to the environment and new to the whole team concept.”

Although it’s different, Rogers said she enjoys the team aspect and was ready for a change.

“Here I really like being with the team because I know they have my back no matter what,” Rogers said. “I can support them as well. It’s less selfish with this type of gymnastics, and I’m really ready for that.”

 

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