“I wanted to let you know that Marisa (Dick) is now aware that she was not chosen to go to the test event in Rio,” stated a letter from Hannifer Dick’s email account on 9 November 2015. “It was posted onto the TTOC website which Thema (Williams) has shared…
“I have tried to tell her that there is hope but at this point she does not feel like anyone is fighting for her.”
The preceding email—excerpts of which were used by TV6 on Monday April 25—was sent from the email address of Hannifer Dick, the mother of Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick, on 9 November 2015, which was three weeks after Thema Williams qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Test event at the Glasgow 2015 World Championship.
Dick and Williams and their respective parents both signed pre-World Championship contracts, which stated that the gymnast who performed best in Glasgow would take Trinidad and Tobago’s sole berth in Rio.
Williams went on to place 59th while Dick finished 77th.
However, Dick’s email suggested that she—in tandem with second vice president Ricardo Lue Shue and Canadian choreographer Anita Pelletier—discussed setting a new qualification criteria after Williams had already earned the spot.
Pelletier noted that the trio’s machinations were meant to be private but had been leaked by “Team Thema.”
The TTGF delayed naming Williams as its appointed gymnast for three weeks, while it apparently considered setting a new yardstick. But Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis advised the gymnastics body that it was bound to give the spot to Williams.
Hannifer appeared upset by the decision.
“I do not understand why this decision was made without putting into effect the two competition still to take place,” stated the email, in bold letters. “(…) I am not entirely sure what else she can do and I am not sure how to keep her positive and motivated.
“The reasoning for not telling her right away was because we wanted her to train as if there was still a chance but after reading all that has been said she does not know what to think.
“It is a hard thing to see your child cry when she knows how hard she has worked to accomplish all that she has and to have it be so unfair to her.”
Hannifer also claimed that her daughter met the criteria for the Rio Olympic Test event while performing with an injury—believed to be a dislocated rib—in Glasgow.
Ironically, Williams was ruled out of Rio Test event due to a sore ankle, although TTGF president David Marquez made the decision without a medical report and, according to Williams’ coach John Geddert, a Brazilian doctor subsequently ruled that she was able to compete.
(Letter from email address of Hannifer Dick, which appeared to be sent to TTGF second vice president Ricardo Lue Shue)
At 11 pm, on 9 November 2015: I wanted to let you know that Marisa is now aware that she was not chosen to go to the test event in Rio. It was posted onto the TTOC website which Thema has shared.
Marisa is heart broken because nowhere there does it mention that she has represented Trinidad and Tobago for the last four years and has done so with the utmost respect for everyone involved.
I have tried to tell her that there is hope but at this point she does not feel like anyone is fighting for her.
Thema’s mother Helen is mentioned several times and this has all played out in the media. We have not spoken to anyone in the media nor has anyone from the media there tried to contact us.
I do not understand why this decision was made without putting into effect the two competition still to take place.
Both Thema and Marisa competed in three competitions and the first being in Puerto Rico wherein Marisa did the job that was required of her. The second being Pan Am qualifications. Marisa showed that she was a true competitor and qualified a spot for Trinidad and Tobago to send a gymnast to the Pan Am Games.
Marisa tore her Achilles tendon which required surgery. She then spent the next year working hard and fighting to get back to the top of her game while still being respectful to everyone and being a good role model to everyone she has come into contact with.
Marisa has accomplished so much for Trinidad and Tobago by bringing home their first ever international medals, qualifying to the all around at the Pan Am Games and improving on her position by 6 positions.
She did this after a horrible injury and much hard work. That is dedication and a love of the sports. In the four years who has done more.
I am not entirely sure what else she can do and I am not sure how to keep her positive and motivated. The reasoning for not telling her right away was because we wanted her to train as if there was still a chance but after reading all that has been said she does not know what to think.
It is a hard thing to see your child cry when she knows how hard she has worked to accomplish all that she has and to have it be so unfair to her. Her words to me was “how come no one sees how much I have done?”
I have always told Marisa to believe in her self and just do what she has trained. She did just that at Worlds. We all know how injured she was and still went out and competed as the true champion she is.
We went into Worlds with two goals and those being: (1) to be able to qualify a position to the Test Event in Rio (which she did); and (2) to debut a new skill which she has spent hours upon hours learning. This is another first.
At this point, I am not sure how to help her believe. We knew that if Marisa had placed higher that we would have to prove that she deserved the position.
I never expected to have fairness taken away, I just assumed that what was right would be just that.
(Letter from email address of Anita Pelletier to Hannifer Dick, which is copied to Marisa Dick’s coach, Ovidiu Serban, and TTGF second vice-president Ricardo Lue Shue)
At 11.49 pm on 9 November 2015: I would like to hear back from the federation tomorrow telling us the plan for addressing this situation publicly. This is no longer private due to team Thema.