Utah gymnastics: Dabritz is twisted, in a good way, for Utes
The way to judge Georgia Dabritz's skill during her execution of the triple twist isn't by her ability to torque her body into three rapid twists in the blink of an eye, get the height to perform the trick or her ability to stick the landing. It's that she can do all of that and make one of the most difficult floor exercises look so effortless.
Dabritz, the junior who became just the 11th Utah gymnast to earn a 10.0 on the floor a week ago during a competition at Michigan, arguably posesses the best triple twist in collegiate gymnastics today.
It's unknown how many other gymnasts if anyone is using the trick, but Dabritz quickly is making it her signature move.
She is the first Utah gymnast to use the skill since Ashley Postell did so during her illustrious career from 2005-08. While Postell became the first gymnast in NCAA history to win the maximum 20 All-American honors, she never earned a 10.0 on the floor.
That Dabritz was able to do with the triple twist speaks volumes of her talent.
"It's such a unique skill because most people can't complete three twists all the way around before they land," Utah coach Greg Marsden said. "It's one of the most difficult moves you can do and try to finish cleanly."
What makes the move difficult, and successful for Dabritz, is the need to get height on the takeoff and maintain an upward trajectory rather than a forward or backward one like most tricks require.
As soon as Dabritz is punching off the floor she is thinking 'twist, twist, twist,' as she torques her body hard and fast in an effort to complete the three rotations before landing. Dabritz said a double twist came naturally when she was younger, so once she mastered two rotations, adding a third wasn't too difficult.
"It seems like I have been drawn to the twisting moves my whole life," she said. "I learned to do a triple twist before I could do a double back and that is a lot easier move for most gymnasts. I started doing twists on a trampoline and when they were coming along well, I added the third."
Once she punches off the ground, Dabritz starts twisting her body but also has to be mindful of her form. She tries to keep her feet together and her arms close to her body.
"I've punched myself in the face before if my arms got too high," she said. "The hard part is keeping my toes together. They want to cross a little bit when I twist. It takes a lot more technique to me than the other moves. A lot of people pike their twists instead of keeping their body straight, but I can do that so it sets me apart."
The landing often is the tricky part of the move, according to Utah co-coach Megan Marsden, but Dabritz has an easier time with it because she twists so fast she can nail the landing more often than not.
"She is like this twisting little mamma up there," Megan Marsden said.
"A lot of people aren't finished with the twist when they land, but she is and just drops down out of it and 'boom.' It's not an easy element to do to start with, much less do it as well as she does."
Dabritz might not be finished with the twist. She has experimented with adding a fourth rotation during summer workouts in the pits. She hasn't ruled out giving it a whirl in a routine in the future.
"The hard part is making it through all four rotations," she said. "Sometimes I land facing backwards."
Those are the rare times being a little twisted doesn't work in Dabritz's favor. Georgia Dabritz explains her triple twist
Georgia Dabritz has to get a lot of power on the "punch" as she initiates the move (see 1 & 2 below).
To maintain enough velocity to keep the twist going, Dabritz has to keep her arms in close to her body without punching herself in the face (5).
She also must keep her body as straight as possible (9), without allowing her legs to 'pike' or bend toward her pelvis.
To make a solid landing, Dabritz finishes the twist before she hits the mat (11). Many gymnasts are unsuccessful and land slightly twisted.
Georgia at Utah
O Saturday, 7 p.m.