The Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) has decided to send its two top athletes, Thema Williams and Marisa Dick, to its Disciplinary Committee, after the local body was rocked by a second topless photograph this morning.
On Tuesday, the TTGF received a topless Instagram photo of Rio-bound 20 year old Trinidad and Tobago gymnast, Williams, which was also forwarded to the local gymnastics community and media.
The local body met on Williams’ matter yesterday evening and came to a decision.
However, before the TTGF could make a press statement today, its executive members were stunned to receive another topless photograph—this time of its 2015 Sportswoman of the Year nominee, Marisa Dick.
TTGF secretary Elicia Peters Charles confirmed that she received a photograph of the 18 year old Dick today, which was forwarded to roughly 40 other email addresses including members of the media.
As a result, the local gymnastic body delayed its announcement, so as to pronounce on both athletes at the same time. The final decision, revealed today by press release, was that both athletes will be sent to the TTGF’s disciplinary committee.
“With reference to photographs on social media of National Elite Athletes Thema Williams and Marisa Dick,” stated the TTGF release, “the Federation has decided, in accordance with the athletes’ agreements and the Constitution of the Federation, to refer their matters to the Disciplinary Committee.
“The committee is scheduled to meet next week to deliberate. As soon as the committee is finished with its deliberations, a further release would be sent.”
The highlighted photographs—both of which show very little or none of the breasts of the respective athlete—look set to be a distraction for the gymnastic fraternity during what should be a historic year for the local sport.
Last October, Williams moved a step closer to becoming Trinidad and Tobago’s first gymnast to compete at an Olympics when she qualified for this April’s Rio Olympic Test Event, after a 59th place finish at the Glasgow 2015 World Artistic Gymnastic Championship. Dick, who earned global attention for having a special mount patented last month, finished 77th out of 192 participants in Glasgow.
Trinidad and Tobago has just one available artistic gymnastic spot for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and, if Williams is ruled out for any reason before April, Dick will take her place.
Bizarrely, Dick’s photograph was forwarded by someone who identified themselves as “Kamara Heinz.”
On Tuesday, a mysterious Georgette Heinz sent a topless image of Williams to the TTGF, the local gymnastic community and the media and demanded action against the 20 year old athlete.
Nobody within the local community knew Georgette Heinz or whether her identity was fake. The poster did not respond to an email from Wired868.
It is uncertain who is behind either email. But they are not assumed to be the same person.
Tuesday’s email carried a long moral speech while this morning’s message contained only a photograph.
Like Tuesday, today’s photograph, which appeared to be taken on Snapchat, did not reveal the teenager’s breasts and might not generally be considered lewd.
By evening, though, a “Melissa Grant”, who described herself as “a concerned parent and citizen”, joined the e-mail exchange and sought to defend Williams by claiming that her Instagram photo was taken for “black awareness advocacy” while suggesting that Dick’s snap was “somewhat more revealing.”
Grant, who re-posted Dick’s topless photograph and introduced a third image to the conversation, insisted that if the TTGF tried to block Williams from competing at the Rio Olympics, it would be left with no gymnast at all due to the leaked image of Dick.
“The question really to ask is, has any young lady really shamed anyone?” asked Grant, via email. “Also, does the Federation want to send the message that despite talent, being ashamed of your body is the only way to represent the country at the olympics.
“We trust that the Federation will drop this matter and allow Thema to compete due her talent—as nothing appears to be shameful in her photo. Because if they do disqualify her, who will then represent the country—because obviously Marisa can not go either.
“Interestingly enough, neither young woman is wrong in celebrating their bodies.”
Grant’s other photograph, which she described as food for thought, showed the Canada-born gymnast in a Trinidad and Tobago jersey next to a Canada sign. In the caption, Dick stated: “I may be Trinidadian out on the floor but I’m still Canadian at heart.”
Grant said she was annoyed by Dick’s split loyalties.
“It really is a sore spot when Marisa is claiming her Canadian Citizenship despite being funded by the TT Government,” said Grant, “just some food for thought.”
Grant did not say whether she was responsible for the original release of Dick’s topless photo this morning. And she did not respond to Wired868’s enquiry on that matter by the time of publication.
However, it has, arguably, transformed an exciting period for Trinidad and Tobago gymnastics into a soap opera.
There was widespread support for Williams yesterday, as the TTGF met to consider “action” against the former Tots and Tumblers and St Joseph’s Convent (Port of Spain) athlete.
The local body had installed a clause in its new contract with the two girls, which required them to swear that: “I am a representative of TTFG and must conduct myself in a manner that upholds the name, reputation and goodwill of TTGF… As such, my conduct publicly known and not publicly known must not reflect poorly upon or bring discredit to TTGF, its other athletes, its coaches or its events and programs.
“My conduct extends beyond actions on the field of play, including but not limited to
actions/posting/images disseminated in the public domain.”
Williams had pointed out that her own photograph was taken in February 2015 and was meant to be artistic. It was removed from her Instagram account—which is private—within 24 hours after her American coach, John Geddert, voiced concerns.
“Georgette Heinz” either held on to a screen shot of the image or attained it and released it to the media, a year later.
The TTGF, which is headed by president David Marquez, allegedly decided yesterday evening to send Williams before its disciplinary committee to answer questions on her image.
Before the TTGF could release its decision, though, its executive members received a topless image of Dick this morning. Dick’s topless photograph was allegedly taken in February 2016.
Wired868 tried unsuccessfully to contact Dick.
“We made a decision (on Williams) but we don’t want to disclose it yet,” Peters Charles told Wired868, earlier today. “A photograph came to my phone before 10 am today and, based on that, I don’t think it would be prudent of us to send out a press release which pronounces on one person and not the other.
“So we have to schedule a second meeting and then send a comprehensive release dealing with both situations.”
The eventual decision was that both athletes will face the same fate.
Once all goes well at April’s Test Event, Trinidad and Tobago should have its first ever artistic gymnastic participant at an Olympic Games.
Williams is in pole position for that honour while Dick will deputise in case of an emergency.
It is still uncertain what impact—if any—the leaked photographs would have on either’s dreams of Olympic glory.
(Melissa Grant email)
In an interesting turn of events, while the TT Gymnastics Federation is considering banning Thema Williams over an email from a “Concerned Parent” claiming she has shammed the Federation and the country for posting a “nude” (Photo attached, which a) is not nude and b) was posted for black awareness advocacy). Here, we have her potential replacement Marisa Dick, posting a somewhat more revealing photo to SnapChat celebrating her fifth placement at an event.
The question really to ask is, has any young lady really shamed anyone? Also, does the Federation want to send the message that despite talent, being ashamed of your body is the only way to represent the country at the olympics.
We trust that the federation will drop this matter and allow Thema to compete due her talent—as nothing appears to be shameful in her photo, because if they do disqualify her, who will then represent the country—because obviously Marisa can not go either. Interestingly enough, neither young woman is wrong in celebrating their bodies.
Hopefully good sense prevails.
A concerned Parent ~ And Citizen.
PS: It really is a sore spot when Marisa is claiming her Canadian citizenship despite being funded by the TT Government—just some food for thought.
Editor’s Note: Wired868 used Thema Williams’ topless photograph with her permission, so as to demonstrate its relative tameness.
We also believe that Marisa Dick’s photograph is not lewd and the athlete will be better off by readers making their own minds up, rather than using their imagination to speculate—especially as Williams’ photo has been used.
Wired868 has been unable to make contact with Dick so far but will be eventually guided by her as to whether that photograph remains on our website.
Wired868 will also like to make it clear that we support the right of persons born to Trinidad and Tobago parent(s) outside of our borders to represent our country and contribute to our success in every field, including sport.