Geddert: Marquez and the TTGF ‘cheated’ Thema and risked Marisa’s health!

United States Olympic gymnastics coach John Geddert, who is also the coach of Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams, has accused the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) president David Marquez and his board of breaching its contract with Williams, twisting information to justify malicious intent against the athlete and risking the health of her alternate Marisa Dick.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago international gymnast Thema Williams. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago international gymnast Thema Williams.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

The explosive email, which was sent to Marquez and the board just after midday on Saturday, followed the TTGF’s decision to replace Williams with Dick for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games Test event.

Dick finished 55th out of the 66 athletes to become the first Trinidad and Tobago gymnast to qualify for an Olympics.

However, Geddert insisted that Williams was unfairly stripped of her qualification spot.

The following is the full email:

(Email from John Geddert to the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation)

At 12.50 pm on April 16: As expected, your Federation has read between the lines to find the excuse you feel is justified for making the change that several have always wanted to make.

My concern with filing reports is exactly this. I stated that we were limiting pounding. This is normal for all athletes gearing up for the meet of their lives. This is to reserve their legs and not place them at additional risk.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams performs at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. Williams was in line to be Trinidad and Tobago's first gymnast to perform at an Olympic Games. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams performs at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.
Williams was in line to be Trinidad and Tobago’s first gymnast to perform at an Olympic Games.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

I limited (former US gold medalist) Jordyn Wieber’s “pounding” whenever possible. Sprinters do not sprint extra meters, swimmers to not swim extra laps prior to important competitions. It is the same for gymnastics.

It is also normal for athletes dealing with MINOR injuries, so as not to turn them into MAJOR ONES. I am confident that a large majority of athletes in this competition are dealing with limitations, whether it be shoulders, back, wrists, hamstrings, achilles, or ankles.

I did not say she was not landing at all… I stated she may not perform well but this did not mean she would not be able to perform up to the standards I would expect of an international class athlete on this important world stage.

Not performing well (up to her full potential) more than likely applies to 50% of the athletes in the field at this point. She would be able to perform.

I mentioned podium being a disaster. But is was for many athletes getting used to the lighting, the podium, the ceiling height. She also performed satisfactory routines after her initial attempts.

Photo: US women gymnastics team’s coach John Geddert celebrates with the rest of the team after the US won gold in the artistic gymnastics event of the London Olympic Games on 31 July 2012. Geddert coaches Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams in Michigan. (Copyright AFP 2016/Thomas Coex)
Photo: US women gymnastics team’s coach John Geddert celebrates with the rest of the team after the US won gold in the artistic gymnastics event of the London Olympic Games on 31 July 2012.
Geddert coaches Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams in Michigan.
(Copyright AFP 2016/Thomas Coex)

We chose to do a dance through on floor. This is always an option for athletes. The purpose of podium is to acclimate to the competitive arena. This was accomplished. I have known several US and other foreign athletes (men and women) who have less than stellar podium performances yet did quite well in competition.

Have you ever watched a podium performance? Three falls were on her first bar routine (which obviously have nothing to do with an ankle) but she had nearly a flawless routine on her second attempt.

She fell on her first vault but she corrected (it) on her second. Two falls were on beam but she corrected both of those also. YOU over-reacted!

Why not use my second day report where it was stated that she did some good things on bars and beam? You chose to hunt for a negative.

I guess I should have remained vague or silent in my report.

Then there is not even the courtesy of a phone conversation to obtain more objective information. David (Marquez) stated that he called “several” times to the hotel and my cell but it went to voice (mail).

Photo: COPOS Credit Union manager and Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) president David Marquez (left) makes a presentation to GECCU president Clarence Harry. (Copyright GECCU)
Photo: COPOS Credit Union manager and Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) president David Marquez (left) makes a presentation to GECCU president Clarence Harry.
(Copyright GECCU)

I have no voice mail messages and only one missed call to my cell at 12.20 am. (I was sleeping). I was in my room from 11.00 on. My room phone did not ring once.

Did not this situation warrant a personal conversation?

I think it did but you (David) did not want information that would nullify the path you wanted to take. You were not diligent in protecting the earned rights of this athlete.

Perhaps it was late in the evening… How about a conversation in the morning? Isn’t this important enough to warrant a conversation?

I believe this violates your national team agreement (I do not have a copy with me) that states something to the affect that the responsible coach must be involved in the decision to withdraw or replace an athlete.

I do not think an email at 1.27 am qualifies as proper communication and therefore you may very well be in violation of the NTA.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation officials (from right) Ricardo Lue Shue, Elicia Peters-Charles and David Marquez pose with Sport Minister Darryl Smith (second from right). (Courtesy SPORTT)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation officials (from right) Ricardo Lue Shue, Elicia Peters-Charles and David Marquez pose with Sport Minister Darryl Smith (second from right).
(Courtesy SPORTT)

As for the withdrawal comment and reference to such, that is again reading between the lines. That in the course of a normal conversation that included understanding the responsibility on her shoulders and would be a normal question when dealing with any slight injury: DO YOU THINK YOU CAN DO THIS?

The answer to that has not changed. SO basically because I included that in a report, this athlete will now suffer the injustice of being removed.

Your assigned athletic trainer and physio (Nicole Fuentes) who is here on site, informed you all that you were over-reacting. I am informing you that you are over-reacting.

THEN you think that placing an athlete (Marisa Dick) on a plane for 14 hours… enduring a 3-4 hour time change…. add in lay-overs… is a great solution that places your country in a better situation.

There is no way that this should even be a consideration. First of all, it places that athlete in grave danger. There is a reason why coaches train lightly after significant flights. There is a reason why there is an established standard of one day of acclimation for every 1-2 hours of time change.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick performs at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. Dick was born in Canada to a Trinidadian mother, Hannifer. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick performs at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.
Dick was born in Canada to a Trinidadian mother, Hannifer.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

What about flight delays? Oh my! This is clearly a sign of not knowing sports. I could understand if there wasn’t any other option BUT there is! This is a shame.

You are not here. You do not know the extent of any situation. You are not trusting the advice of the physio that you contracted for the care of this athlete.

You are not trusting her coach to know what is best for the athlete. I understand what is at stake and I am not one to risk that for personal agendas (I’ve been to the Olympics).

This is about fairness and what it right. As I write, I (got) the report from the medical staff here at the Olympic test event and, in their assessment, she is cleared to participate fully based on her decision to do so.

For obvious reason they can not make the decision for her but they did not medically disqualify her OR have any significant concerns about health and safety.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation second vice president and former president Ricardo Lue Shue (left) shakes hands with SPORTT Company official Anthony Creed. Lue Shue will act as Marisa Dick's coach in Brazil. (Courtesy SPORTT)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation second vice president and former president Ricardo Lue Shue (left) shakes hands with SPORTT Company official Anthony Creed.
Lue Shue will act as Marisa Dick’s coach in Brazil.
(Courtesy SPORTT)

I hear now that Marisa’s coach on the floor will be Ricardo. If this is true I have to laugh at the irony.

Does anyone else on the council see the conflict of interest here???

But again… it has been expected.

I would like to say it has been a wonderful experience in working with the TTGF but we all know the chaos, drama and turmoil that has filled the air over the past two years.

My regret is for Thema and her family and her Trinidad club who have vested so much into this process. Thank you Fran, Corryn (sic) and Dale for the undying support you have given this process and all that you do for fairness in the sport of gymnastics.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams.
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams.
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  1. Unfortunately, Thema has been cheated out of this opportunity- a milestone in her career… whatever the consequences to the TTGF executives! I rest assured however that GOD doh sleep & HE doh like advantage!!

  2. They stole her earned opportunity. Thieves

  3. There is no doubt in my mind there is bias involved here……one more time adults elected to do the best for a sport are disgraced……at the expense of the athletes…….both girls are affected……

  4. There is no missing link ,It is just plain corruption , Kamala trade mark is on every thing ,Where is Fixin TnT lol

  5. Sport in Trinidad and Tobago is a sham the best never get to represent. The wrong people In administration, self serving and currupt. That is why making it on a world stage is a celebration for us .we have no reason why we should not be consistently appearing. But administration is always the down fall.

  6. Robert boi this happening in swimming no darkies

  7. The coach has some work to do on his communication skills and like all our institutions the TTGF needs to work on its procedures. Unfortunately the athletes generally have to bare the brunt of these goofs.

  8. Mel Lissa I notice some didn’t seen to have a problem with people speaking like that about Dick. We judging a bunch of people but our words are even worse than their bad behaviour. As far as I am concerned Gedderr created doubt about Thema in part of his dispatch, the TTGF ran with it.

  9. “I guess I should have remained vague or silent in my report.” – He underestimated the nature and intent of these people

  10. Hope they can be penalized in some way !!!

  11. And I am asking, even begging, will this story some how, somewhere, have a happy ending? Please, is this a final outcome? Or can the TTOC reverse this dicksision?

  12. Every time you fight for something good in this country theirs is always one or two assholes to pull u back

  13. Question, why attack Dick? Wrong was done to Thema, but why attack Dick?

  14. Erline, you’re over-analyzing everything. It’s quite clear that Geddert did not deliver any of these critiques in any hope of taking her from the team. The fact that he also ‘ASKED’ her to withdraw shows that he was pushing her hard to make a decision to do her best. It’s the style of many coaches and other teachers I might add. It’s a ‘challenge’.

    It’s also quite clear that when Geddert couldn’t get through to Marisa that he worried whether he had been too harsh on her.

    The letter was to date the best thing that happened to Marisa. Though she may be in a state now, she will appreciate the personal message that Geddert was sending her later, maybe much later. That’s life.

    Most importantly, the TTGF DESERVED this letter. I give it 10 points or an A+ or a distinction, however you want to take it.

    • I’m not overanalyzing. I’m a journalist and a person who tries to come to balanced conclusions about things rather than blindly demonizing groups and individuals, which is what people seem determined to do in this case with the TTGF.

    • Most of you aren’t familiar with any of the people on the TTGF board yet they’re being attacked in the vilest manner on social media.

    • I know you’re trying to come from a good place but trust me, she was unfairly taken off the team. I wouldn’t really blame the ‘TTGF’ per se, you have to look at the individuals concerned. If I’m proven wrong, I WILL recant. Trust me on that one too. Remember, I said ‘proven’.

    • Erline Andrews you don’t have to be ‘familiar’ with anyone to be able to see whether what they’re doing is right or wrong.

      Are you saying with this that because you are familiar with TTGF board members that your opinion is in actuality biased? Because that’s the message you’re putting across unknowingly. There’s a reason why jury members cannot be family members, friends or ‘familiars’.

    • Linda Louison I don’t know anything about anyone on the TTGF board and I didn’t know anything about gymnastics in T&T until this case. I suspect it’s the same with most people currently following and commenting.

      • Erline…….I hear you and I agree…people shouldn’t be demonized if we don’t know their true character. As a past Secretary of the Board, I can tell you that I AM familiar with some of the characters involved in this drama. You can rest assured that this Board is being controlled by a small cartel and the others are merely puppets. It’s a damn shame. We finally have the opportunity to bring the sport into the spotlight for the RIGHT reasons and we allow small minded, jealous and dare I say devious people to make it the laughing stock of the sporting fraternity (right up there with the WICB). What disturbs me is that the Board members who have no vested interest (meaning they are not Club Owners or coaches), have become so entrenched in their positions that they can no longer tell what is fair and just! I am somehow hoping the less biased members will come to their senses, snap out of their blind stupor and speak out! This board’s actions are destroying your dignity……if you don’t stand up…….I hope to God the right minded people of T&T will…….this Board MUST go!

    • Linda Louison I’m familiar with human nature though. And this drive to demonize has become a common phenomenon in social media

    • Yes there’s an excessive drive in T&T to demonize people. Not sure one can apply it to this situation, as far as I know, she’s been badly and unfairly treated and there must be a person or persons responsible.

      Recognizing that is not demonizing those responsible though a few people might go too far. It’s simply recognizing persons for their nonsense and if they are in a position of authority well then they need to step down or own up at the very least.

    • Plus I’m also familiar with human nature, I’ve met some of the worst

    • Linda Louison The problem with saying that Thema was treated unfairly is that I can’t say I’m confident that she wouldn’t have messed up the test on Sunday. This is based on the last video I saw of her performing in February, the third day observations from the coach and even the second day observations from the coach. Why would he mention the possibility of her being in the “almost” group if she was performing well? Even though I might have gone ahead with Thema, I can’t completely condemn the TTGF for sending in Marisa instead.

    • Linda Louison Here are the reports from the coach of the time in Brazil. You’ll have to scroll down.

    • I find that third email even more damaging to Thema in light of the first two.

    • Chabeth Haynes That line about having to “rely on heart” I find was real tough. Imagine having the responsibility for getting a T&T gymnast to the Olympics and seeing that.

    • That and second email was very positive about training going well. Then third email things are a “disaster” and no signs of improvement and I asked her to withdraw last week? He knows why he waited until the day before the competition to unleash that kind of honesty. Not saying she wouldn’t have made it. But if I got that third email I might panic too and doubt whether she would have made it or not. But apparently the spot still belongs to the country and not Marisa so Thema may still end up going.
      But what a mess…

    • Chabeth Haynes They can’t send Thema. Just spent most of the TV6 sports segment discussing the issue. It’s Marisa or we lose the spot to another country. So I don’t know what the TTOC is blathering about.

    • Oh well idk. Maybe TTOC is prepared to lose the spot on principle. We’ll see…

    • Chabeth Haynes No they aren’t. They not mad.

    • Lol. Well idk what the tweet or whatever was about yesterday.

    • Waste of time. Doesn’t matter if Thema would have performed badly. No coach changes their mind in the last minute and as I stated before, he was pushing her to do better. The question to her to withdraw was meant to push her, it’s just his style. Good grief.

      Plus note I said ‘coach’, the decision to take her out SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DONE WITHOUT HIS APPROVAL!!!!!!!!!!

      She would not have been the first athlete to perform badly with their country’s hopes behind them and she won;t be the last but it’s definitely rare to pull an athlete so late. You are both discussing the wrong issues. No one is discussing whether she would have failed, tripped and fell and broken her nose, that is not the issue.

      Sigh …. It was plain wrong, end of story.

    • “The question to her to withdraw was meant to push her, it’s just his style” How do you know this?! Do you know him?

    • I told you before (read my previous statements) that I am very sure and I’m not going to waste any more time convincing you. Good grief. Anyway, you can’t help it that you’re not able to see this.

    • Linda Louison You don’t know the parties involved. You’re just guessing and speculating like everyone else ?

    • No I’m not sweetheart, I’m as sure as you are Erline Andrews lol 🙂

    • Linda Louison Exactly. I would never claim to be certain in a situation where I don’t know those involved and many facts are still unknown. You can only speculate from this position.

    • The TTGF is supposed to give a press conference tomorrow

    • Erline Andrews you misunderstood. To put it in another way, I’m as sure as my name is my name. Granted, my statement was easily misunderstood lol

    • Linda Louison I’ll wait to see how information unfolds, to see if you’re proven right.

    • Chabeth Haynes Thema is returning today as well I believe. As well as a press conference I’d like to see her do some routines to show that she was capable of representing T&T

    • Erline Andrews that is a wicked thing to want. Don’t you think this girl feels already so beaten now, why would she want to perform for anyone? You are amazing lol

    • Linda Louison If I were her I would want to dispel any notions that I wasn’t capable. I won’t suggest anyone do anything I couldn’t imagine myself doing.

    • Linda Louison I’ve realize in discussing this issue that people are so deep into their emotions about it they can’t see other reasonable people thinking differently from they do.

    • Linda Louison So of course if I think differently from you I’m wicked or bad, right?

    • Unfortunately this can go very bad for Thema as her personal outlook is most likely not at its best to give her best performance. So she is more than likely to make mistakes now more than at any other time and certainly more than at the Olympics.

      If I were her, I would choose not to also because I would have already proven myself qualifying for the team and won’t have to prove anything anymore. It’s ridiculous.

      I wouldn’t do it

    • No it’s a wicked wish and you Erline are just thoughtless. You can’t help it, I don’t think so.

      You need to be a little more sensitive and empathetic. You’re being extremely judgemental and harsh where you should not be. It’s not nice.

    • Linda Louison I’m being judgmental and harsh! Me?! I think I’ll take the time to post the many nasty quotes I’ve been reading about Marisa Dick and the members of the TTGF board. You “Team Thema” people are way out of touch with reality! You can interpret that as harsh or judgmental if you want to!

    • Erline you are not those terrible people, give it a break and notice at the same time you’re upset thinking I’m lumping you in the same pot as they, you then find it’s a great solution to do the same to me. Funny will never stop hahaha

    • Erline Andrews I never said because you think differently to me that you are wicked and bad. Are you really a serious investigative journalist? ?

    • Erline Andrews I am absolutely not emotional about this. I really don’t fancy sports, at least most of them so you’re barking up the wrong tree.

    • I don’t fancy sports and definitely haven’t been following this till Saturday. I have no strong emotions on this issue. I find the relieving of Thema without first speaking to her or her coach extremely unfair and inexcusable. It’s a fairness issue. Don’t need to know or care about the people on the board to find that. I’m not sure about the angst and spite-fullness against Marisa though. And I agree that vile and judgmental things have been said about her by people taking a moral high ground on Thema side. And that dissonance is disturbing. Plenty emotionalism and wide aspersions if u ask me. But hey, it’s sports. It’s touches hearts. The recent evidence of Individual members of the board rooting for Marisa (posted in another post) is also quite damming.

    • Afiya France I like the balance in this comment. You’re right. To use Obama’s word, the TTGF board acted “stupidly” in how they switched gymnasts. I think it’s from a combination of genuine worry that she would not be able to perform and lack of confidence in her in the first place on the part of members of the board.

    • I totally agree with you Afiya. This is how it should be said, not people like Erline wanting to examine Thema’s performance post qualification.

      Glad you are agreeing with Afiya here Erline.

    • Erline Andrews, I don’t understand what point you’re trying to make with the video but can guess what it is and it’s completely irrelevant. She was CHOSEN and no one training her recommended her being taken off the team.

      You are making news where there is NONE to make. To prove my point as well, please also read this link. Slightly injured sports persons have gone on to win Gold. Get over it that the TTGF failed the people of Trinidad & Tobago and start investigating that.

    • Linda Louison If you think you can do better why don’t you offer yourself for office on the TTGF? As I keep saying, I know no one on the TTGF. I think Marisa and Thema are both mediocre gymnasts equally unlikely to medal at the Olympics. What annoys me is the self righteous, self important commenting on this issue by people who likely never did one thing to help gymnastics or sports in T&T

    • Mediocre?! Lol. That one word says a lot.

    • Erline Andrews don’t like the truth I showed you? Why try to show up Thema as incapable because of a minor injury?

      Why would you think that I would think I can do better on the TTGF? I’m not interested in such a job. Is that a means of trying to make me seem ‘self-righteous’?

      Just because You show yourself up as a dramatist doesn’t mean that I’m self-righteous. I’ve never said I can manage an institution nor have I said I can even do a split or a vault. You’re just funny. ?

    • I would be more sympathetic to “Team Thema” if she were a better gymnast. If you read between the lines of her coach”s emails, he doesn’t think she’s that great either. All this energy for someone with zero chance to medal

    • Erline Andrews wow thanks for showing us your true thoughts. There’s really nothing wrong with thinking that someone is not the best but to think that because of this they don’t deserve a chance because of s slight injury is preposterous.

      Not only that, you contradict yourself in giving far more energy to standing up for another athlete who by your words you also think is mediocre.

      Because the first athlete was the chosen one, it now smacks of very suspect why you are giving so much undivided attention, not equal to that given to Thema, to her alternate. What’s the difference between the two?

      The difference is that as an investigative journalist you’ve already made up your mind that Thema deserves to be side-lined and replaced with the other gymnast. True investigative journalism tries to allow the readers to make up their mind, not you.

      Just report, that’s your job and leave the rest up to each member of the public to hold their own opinion. It’s not your job to take sides. Just give facts, timelines, dates, names etc. stick to the real bones. Only discuss with your friends your personal opinion. If I were your coach, I guess you would be Thema. ? I’d tell you up get off the team so that you would wake up and perform better but following your example, you will read it as I am saying you’ve failed and should come off the team. No that is not what I am saying. I’m saying, do better than that, please.

    • Linda Louison I’ve said repeatedly I’m not standing up for anyone. In fact very early in this thread that I think Thema was the better option. Both her and Marisa are mediocre but Thema has more strength and that gives her the edge over Marisa. But I don’t think either of them has the talent to medal. The reason I’m “giving this so much energy” is that I can’t walk away from an argument. Which is one of my bad traits, according to a friend of mine :/

    • Good to know! It is not such a useful trait actually but j think you started off being upset about how people were getting down on Marisa which I also think is unfair.

      It wasn’t supposed to be an argument remember? We were having discussions without insulting each other which many are incapable of doing in these types of groups.

      There are worse groups than this one and I left them a long time ago. We had a great discussion I think, I see where you’re coming from and I think you also see where I am coming from. Doesn’t really matter if anyone understands a everyone’s point of view, it’s just that we all have an opportunity to say it and we should be able to express ourselves while remaining respectful. I don’t mix ‘harsh’ with disrespectful words or cursing – I think most who use that language don’t realize how distasteful it comes across. I can have discussions with you as you don’t go down that road.

      Have a lovely day.

  15. So what happens next? This morning Andre Baptiste said that initial email from Geddert precipitated the decision by the TTGF and they had little time to make the decision to switch to Dick. Even though they failed to consult her doctor or verbally talk to the coach. But to me, the TTGF’s moves don’t appear to be honest and forthright. How do you honestly justify bringing Dick all the way from Edmonton to Rio within hours of competition to compete in a facility that she had no prior history with and has been complained about by other athletes/teams that were training there for at least a week before?

  16. How come no one is speaking of Marisa’s coach. What part is this administrator play in all this drama.

  17. They should resign wicked people

  18. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that as in the politics, so in everything else; we (s)elect people to run the show and, once (s)elected, they do so without reference to us or thought for our albeit valid concerns.

    If we not in the media, we should just eat we bananas and shut we mouth.

    And even when we in the media, we does choose to do that sometimes. Talk bout Turd World!

  19. The gymnastics club that can say they produced an Olympian has a lot to gain.

    The coach who can say he/she produced an Olympian has a lot to gain.

    Opportunity goes to the athlete who belongs to the club or family with the most friends and influence on the deciding board, and the one who isn’t part of the inner circle gets pushed out.

    Ethics and fairness are questionable. Cutthroat times for sure.

  20. Doesn’t matter, he is a waste of time too. He could stand up in Parl and be crass but a top athlete is being treated unfairly and he can’t intervene. That’s BS

    • Olympics are a different story. Governments and administrations cannot cross certain lines. That’s for the IOC, the TTOC, and the TTGF. There are processes in place. The MoS has to be careful to observe those and not overstep their boundaries. The MoS *cannot* intervene in selection of athletes (as far as I’m aware).

    • the countries sport administrators have no say in the affairs of the IOC its much the same like FIFA

  21. Why hasn’t the Minister of Sport intervened?

  22. This is why sports cannot progress in Trinidad & Tobago as it should….Too many personal agendas, egos and small mindedness!!!

    Instead of our Gymnastic Stakeholders uniting around such a monumental occasion, they are instead fighting with one another.

    Signs of a Third World Country sadly!!!

  23. I keep cringing with every spin this story takes.

  24. At the point when he sent this e-mail, he should have been calling and begging for Thema and apologizing for his role in the misunderstanding. Of course, parts of the story are still missing.

  25. I am of the view that there is a missing link in this fiasco.

  26. The coach is messed up, Lasana. He consciously or subconsciously sabotaged his client. Why isn’t he training big-name gymnasts any more? What’s the story behind that? Someone said this about him elsewhere on FB: “… he loves giving out punishments and showing he holds your gymnastics career in his hands. I was coached by him for 11 years He prides himself on controlling girls through fear”

    • That quote could be made of Bela Karoyle as well (spelling?) and Thema has no issue with her coach.

      The TTGF cherry picked what they wanted from that report and ignored the rest.

    • Nicole Philip Greene How do you know she had no issue with her coach?

    • Nicole Philip Greene I’m speculating and hoping Lasana tries to find out one way or another. She might not want to admit it directly

    • I am saying that is a frivolous line of speculation. I’m not even going to put that question to Thema to confirm because there has been absolutely no indication of that whatsoever to date.

    • Nicole Philip Greene How could there be any indication if the possibility has never been considered by journalists as a point of inquiry? His behavior here has been off kilter. According to Lasana’s reporting he sent an email asking to leave Rio BEFORE addressing the issue of Thema being withdrawn from competition. Why does this not bother you?

    • Because those timelines are off. Lasana has published here the first email sent by Geddert. The second is what he referenced in an earlier story. But there was an initial email from him – the full text of which is in the article linked here.

    • Nicole Philip Greene Lasana has to clarify. The email asking to leave was sent around 8 am, according to his reporting. The email he’s reporting on here was sent around noon.

    • Yes. That’s true Erline. His departure didn’t mean that Thema would have been unable to compete though. Marisa travelled without a coach too after all.
      Thema was also going to have a stand-in coach.
      But, for whatever reason, John Geddert tried to book his flight out of Brazil before he dealt with TTGF.
      Although this email was sent after her apparently had doctor’s report. Maybe that is why.

    • Lasana Liburd He may have also tried to convince them by phone after seeing their email and when he didn’t succeed he asked to leave. This is the only scenario that will in my eyes salvage behavior that seems highly suspect.

    • The head of the delegation was Nicole Fuentes. I didn’t realise she played a dual role as physio and head of delegation.
      And Geddert points out that Nicole told them they over reacted. Maybe what is missing here is a plea from Nicole that fell on deaf ears.

    • Reading over the email, it doesn’t seem he spoke personally to anybody. Fuentes apparently did but a time wasn’t given.

    • Yes. Still a few more missing pieces. But the key now is whether the TTGF broke procedure and unfairly disenfranchised Thema.
      And what their responsibility to her should now be. That is where we are heading.

    • Also, whatever the criticism of the TTGF’s actions, I think Geddert’s comments in that email were disrespectful and belittling. Makes me wonder what kind of person he is and how he views our country.

    • I don’t think so at all, once taken in context Erline. He felt duped in an effort to rob a girl of her Olympic dream.
      And he flew halfway across the world to be a part of this charade when someone close needed him as they were dealing with a tragic loss.
      I don’t think his tone was out of place.

    • My biggest problem with the two e-mails he sent on Saturday is that he said that his third report was misconstrued and suggested that this was done through malice or ignorance. Unless the copy of the report I read was heavily edited, it was not misconstrued. He had a role in the debacle and didn’t earn the right to take the tone he did.

    • His language was naive at best in his day three report Erline. Especially if, as was claimed after, a doctor said Thema was ready to compete. I’d agree with you there.

    • I’ve been looking for the 3 reports in their entirety that had been floating around FB. Geddert mentioned not knowing where Thema was at one point and she not responding to phone calls and texts. This was a red flag to me. What was his state of mind when he wrote that final report? Was he angry, resentful, frustrated by her podium performance as well as the disappearing act? Was that something she’d done before? I noticed in this e-mail he thanked other people but not Thema herself.

    • He thanked specific members of the board who were not obstructive. The email was sent to the board.

    • The full sequence of e-mails from Friday is here. Apparently the “reports” weren’t official reports but blogs that Geddert had been posting to his FB page. He sent them to the TTGF in response to an e-mail asking how things were going. So it seemed they weren’t asking for details, just assurances. Yet he sent them comments about falls and withdrawing :/

  27. I am of the view that there is a missing link in this fiasco.

  28. Lasana Liburd Isn’t there more to this story? re: Ricardo Lue Shue conflict of interest?

  29. It is an extremely bad soap opera.

  30. Why is it that organisations such as the TTGF , can’t seem to do what is right by the athletes who put their faith in them ? They get taxpayers money but end up hurting the very citizens they support. They should be divan disbanded.

  31. They have four years to figure it out.
    But it’s nonsense like this that prevents people from putting their children in certain sports and prevents the sport from growing.
    Can you imagine if we had 20 elite gymnasts and had to pick six for the team event?
    And that’s just on the female side…

  32. Well there you have it. Enough here for the TTOC to assert that the TTGF did not play by the rules. I don’t think Marisa Dick going anywhere on team TTO expense. “Tief from tief make God laugh”. Marisa stole the spot from Thema and TTOC will take it from her.

  33. I wondered why they would take the action they did without a phone call. Where meh pardna Earl Mango Pierre? Dem relly good yes.

  34. I hope moving forward, whoever sits on the TTGF executive comes up with a better selection criteria. Cause this whole situation was just bullshit from the start.

  35. This is akin to the West Indies cricketers and the WICB. Seems like all these boards powers go to their collective heads. It’s so sad to see that the athletes and players interests are no longer being served. All decisions affecting them are on the whims and fancies of higher ups who have their own agendas. This bodes no encouragement for up and coming young ones who itch to follow in our present sportsmen and women footsteps. Our participation in all areas of sport is dying, not because of the lack of potential athletes, but because of inept persons at the helm of the various sporting bodies. All I can say is who’s next????

  36. But how this story have twist and turn so? Way sah!

  37. Mouth open, ‘tory jumping out. Why was the TTGF so hell bent against having Thema represent T&T? Even though she was the better performer by far at the qualifying events? I feel tomorrow morning Nikki Crosby will light up the airwaves over the injustice meted out to her god-daughter …

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