Brittany Rogers wraps her right ankle before each meet.
It‚Äôs not a supportive measure from her 2010 surgery.
Instead, it covers an Olympic rings tattoo, a reminder of her accomplishments at the 2012 London Olympics, where she qualified individually for the vault final and helped Canada to the team final.
During a trip to Ottawa, Canada, for an Olympic parade after returning from London, Rogers thought the timing to get inked was serendipitous. Anticipating the needle‚Äôs pain, she darted in and out of the tattoo parlor a few times before finally plopping down in the artist‚Äôs chair.
‚ÄúI chickened out a few times before,‚Äù Rogers said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs an experience I probably don‚Äôt want to go through again, but it‚Äôs definitely something I wanted to do.‚Äù
It‚Äôs small, but a rule in collegiate gymnastics mandates it be covered up during competition.
That‚Äôs OK with Rogers. The sophomore is ‚Äúon cloud nine‚Äù since posting her season-high all-around score, 39.525, Monday against Iowa.
She has been Georgia‚Äôs only all-around competitor through four meets, averaging a 39.113 after struggling on beam against Stanford and LSU. A fall against the Tigers resulted in a 9.3 and a change in her routine. But Rogers sensed her fall before even hopping onto the apparatus.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm a very big visual person. If it‚Äôs something that‚Äôs visually wrong, then I know something will be wrong,‚Äù Rogers said. ‚Äú… Unfortunately I couldn‚Äôt snap out of it, which was sad. But that‚Äôs the past and I‚Äôve learned from that.‚Äù
The past was a big reason for the comfort with her new routine, which she debuted against Iowa. Midday way through, she reminded herself she had been executing the newly added skill since she was 9 years old. And with just one hour with the updated version between the Friday and Monday meets, she churned out a season-high 9.9.
‚ÄúIt wasn‚Äôt the end of the world that I was putting a new skill in, but now that it‚Äôs been out in competition it‚Äôs nice to know that I can come back and perfect it even more in training,‚Äù she said.
Rogers doesn‚Äôt think of her four events as a unmanageable workload with not enough time to complete it. That, Georgia coach Danna Durante said, is Rogers‚Äô biggest asset as an all-arounder.
‚ÄúWhat you do needs to be absolutely clean and absolutely close to perfection as possible, so she‚Äôs understanding that and understanding we want to get to the point where we‚Äôre showcasing,‚Äù Durante said. ‚ÄúBut it‚Äôs good to get her feet on the ground nice and strong. ‚Ä¶ I know that she also felt really good about helping her team, so (it was) excellent that she was able to do that.‚Äù
And her career-high 9.95 on bars against Iowa only sweetened the pot for Rogers, who said she could swing on the monkey bars before she should walk. Her favorite event, Rogers averages a 9.881 through four meets.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs always just had a close place in my heart where I can show off,‚Äù she said.
She will need to show off today when the No. 6 Gym Dogs take on No. 3 Florida in Gainesville. But there is no doubt in Durante‚Äôs mind that she has selected the correct all-around competitor for Georgia.
Just ask her which event of Rogers‚Äô is her favorite.
‚ÄúI watch her do floor and I am moved almost to tears because it‚Äôs just the way that she dances. It just pulls you in. That gets me. That artistic style,‚Äù Durante said. ‚ÄúAnd then I watch her vault, and she‚Äôs very powerful and very strong and quick. I was watching the video last night of bars and she‚Äôs just very quick and sharp and clean. You see her on beam, I can‚Äôt pick one. ‚Ä¶ On bars, beam and floor, there‚Äôs a mix of athleticism and grace and power and beauty and it‚Äôs just beautiful to watch.‚Äù
Rachel G. Bowers: twitter.com/rachelgbowers