Brittany Rogers (Canada)

Canadian gymnastics star Brittany Rogers was kind enough to answer a few questions for World Gymnastics. Brittany is currently recovering from a broken ankle sustained in May at the Pacific Rim Championships in Melbourne, Australia. In this interview, Brittany speaks candidly about her injury, her gymnastics, her country’s gymnastic future, and a bit about her personal life.

World Gymnastics: Can you tell us a bit about what you are doing lately? How is your injury progressing, and what are you doing in the gym?

Brittany Rogers: Right now, my main goal is to heal my foot. So currently I’m just resting up, and seeing a personal trainer 3 times a week. I haven’t been to the gym much lately (besides Sarnia) because I feel that it wouldn’t be helping my foot, and my foot is my main concern so I just want to get that healed up so I’m good as gold as soon as I set foot back into a gym as healthy as I can be!

WG: I know you saw your doctor recently and were moved from a cast to a boot, but what is your prognosis?

BR: Moving from a cast to a boot was heaven to me! Unfortunately my fracture is not healing as fast as it should be. The doctors suspected that it would be healed within 6-8 weeks, but apparently it has a mind of its own! Its my ankle bone, so the tip of my tibia that has fractured off. I think the way I fractured it, and the way the bone is sitting is making it hard to move itself back up to start fusing together. I purchased a “magic machine” called Smith and Nephews Ultrasound Bone Healing System that is supposed to help with healing bones a great amount. I am doing that for 20 minutes every day, and I check back with the surgeon in a few weeks.

WG: Are there any new skills you were working on before your injury? Are there any new skills you want to start working on once you are back at 100%?

BR: No new skills. Once I get back, I think I want to perfect my old skills first, decreasing deductions, before I move onto any new ones again.

WG: How do you feel about Canada’s current elite group? Are there any that stand out or that we should keep looking for?

BR: Canada’s new elite group is definitely a great, strong, hardworking group of girls. I think we all have the same goal range, which makes the team efforts even better. I’d definitely say to watch out for the Junior team! They’re quite the determined group of girls, and I’m so excited for their futures!

WG: What do you think Canada’s chances of making the 2012 Olympics are? Are you working toward 2012 or is that too far away to think about right now?

BR: I think Canada has a great chance of making the Olympic team. We are so determined and so ready, and are all working towards it. Every little bit counts, and no matter who is chosen to represent Canada in London, everyone’s effort helped. 2012 is still one of my biggest goals. I haven’t lost sight of it, and hopefully never will!

WG: Can you take us through a typical training day?

BR: Training.. We start at 1 p.m. monday-friday, then sundays are at 9. We warm up from 1-1:30, including running, “first station” which is leg kicks while sitting down (? hard to explain on a computer!) then we do box jumps over 10 boxes and front tuck onto a mat, cast to handstands, press to handstands, and flex. Then we do each event for an hour each, condition for half an hour, and do straps, basic skills, floor bar, ballet, etc for the last half an hour.

WG: You made the Vault Final at the 2009 World Championships in London. Can you describe the experience of qualifying and then competing in the final with some of the best vaulters in the world?

BR: WOW is the perfect word to explain how I was feeling during not only vault finals, but through the whole Worlds experience. I couldn’t have asked for a better first Worlds! I felt honored to have competed with some of the best athletes in the World. I now truly believe that hard work does pay off. I’m so excited to go back to the O2 😉

WG: You’ve mentioned to me before that you are interested in competing for a university. Are you able to tell us which schools are you thinking about and which ones have contacted you?

BR: I am interested in attending University! I haven’t quite figured out where I want to attend, there are so many great schools and opportunities out there, I’m so fortunate to even have the chance to look at schools and have such an amazing range of great schools!

WG: The American commentators from the Pacific Rim Championships questioned your mental toughness in competition. How do you approach competitions? How do you get yourself mentally prepared?

BR: Mental toughness is a huge part of gymnastics. I feel that I have my ups and downs mentally and physically though. Maintaining mental toughness throughout any competition takes practice. I think I’m just a very focused athlete (at times), and I believe I get it from my grandma. We’re both go getters, determined, and ambitious people, so that’s where a lot of my mental toughness comes from. When I believe and want something, I won’t ever give up. Competitions just another place where I get to show my stuff, have fun, and represent who I am, and my amazing country!

WG: How do you prepare to compete in major meets when you’re out on the floor?

BR: I do a lot of visualizing when I’m out on the floor. I also talk to myself a lot, and say encouraging words. I usually tell myself that I’ve done tons of these skills in practice, and it’s time to work it!

WG: What do you think will help Canada to become competitive as a country in gymnastics in the future?

BR: I believe its very important for Canada to become a closer team. We are a great team, but anyone can improve. If we work together more as a team, it will bring greater strength individually and as a team. It’s very important to work together.

WG: You were recently in Sarnia, Ontario for a training camp, correct? What was that like?

BR: Sarnia was great! It was a new start for the team. We definitely got closer, and you could see that we were improving by the end of the week because of it. It was my first time back into the gym since May (which caused many many sore muscles, but I’m not complaining 😉 ) so I think it helped boost my confidence, and want to get back into the swing of things even more. I’ve also officially switched to grips, so it was a great start for that, while I also got to learn techniques from the girls and other coaches.

WG: Outside of gymnastics, what are your hobbies? What music/movies/books are you currently interested in?

BR: I actually just finished an acting school last week, so I hope to get more into acting as the years go by. It’s something I’d like to continue doing into the future. I love performing (thanks to gymnastics) so acting is one way I can do that. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a substitute for gymnastics, it’s something else I love to do in the mean time 🙂 I also love to sing, read, and watch Hannah Montana and Friends 🙂

WG: What advice would you give to young gymnasts in Canada and around the world who aspire to compete at the elite level?

BR: Believe in yourself, and trust in your heart. The most important thing in life, gym or not, is your heart. You always have to love something to succeed. Honestly, trying your best and never giving up is one of the best things you could say to an athlete, at least for me. If you want it, you can achieve it. Impossible is nothing 🙂