Sliver of hope: Thema hopeful of Olympic spot; admits to friction with Dicks

“There does exist a chance of Thema (Williams) still going to the Olympics,” said Canada-based sport attorney Dr Emir Crowne. “There is a committee called the Tripartite Commission; and in every sport they deal with exceptions to the rule…

“The deadline to file that application was January 15. But they do allow late applications in exceptional circumstances. And I think it is safe to say that this is nothing short of exceptional circumstances.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams (centre) is flanked by (from left) Tots and Tumblers gymnastics club owner Annette Telfer and attorneys Keith Scotland, Dr Emir Crowne and Resa Ramjohn at a press conference on 27 April 2016 at the Virtus Chambers in Port of Spain. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams (centre) is flanked by (from left) Tots and Tumblers gymnastics club owner Annette Telfer and attorneys Keith Scotland, Dr Emir Crowne and Resa Ramjohn at a press conference on 27 April 2016 at the Virtus Chambers in Port of Spain.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams and her team of attorneys, Keith Scotland, Resa Ramjohn and Crowne, faced the media yesterday afternoon to offer an update on the athlete’s controversial de-selection for the Rio 2016 Olympic Test event on April 17 and subsequent loss of her place at the upcoming Olympic Games.

The Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF), which faces legal action as a result of its decision, responded to Williams just before yesterday morning’s deadline. Its attorney, Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj SC, asked for more time to consider the matter and it was granted.

But Scotland insisted that “Team Thema” will keep a close eye on the clock.

“We are heartened that the Federation responded to our deadline,” said Scotland, “and our work continues apace…

“We have copied FIG and this case will not stay in Trinidad and Tobago. The world is looking.”

Williams has until May 9 to find a way into the Olympics—a competition that has been her goal since the age of eight and one she sacrificed a full scholarship to the University of Michigan to chase.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams performs a handstand at John Geddert's Twistars Gymnastics Club in Michigan. (Courtesy Thema Williams)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams performs a handstand at John Geddert’s Twistars Gymnastics Club in Michigan.
(Courtesy Thema Williams)

“Since the incident, my hope has definitely increased with my team that has been around me and how hard everybody has been working,” said Williams. “I won’t say the flame is out. I still want to go to the Olympics and represent Trinidad and Tobago.

“That is still my goal. And I am not injured.”

Williams, who had stayed true to a confidentiality agreement with the TTGF over the past three months, also spoke about the Rio ruckus for the first time.

“I said to myself before bed, one more day to clean up and fix my routine and prepare myself for competition on (April)17th,” said Williams. “But when I woke up on the 16th, I received a call from my mother stating I was no longer the representative…

“I just wanted to go to the Olympics since I was at least eight years old. To know that that dream was being taken away from me, without even my knowledge. There was no consultation that took place…

“I went to (coach John Geddert’s room) immediately and said, did you hear the news? I had tears in my eyes.”

Photo: Thema Williams of Trinidad And Tobago competes on the uneven bars during the 2015 World Gymnastics Championship in Glasgow, Scotland, on 23 October 2015. (Copyright AFP 2016/Andy Buchanan)
Photo: Thema Williams of Trinidad and Tobago competes on the uneven bars during the 2015 World Gymnastics Championship in Glasgow, Scotland, on 23 October 2015.
(Copyright AFP 2016/Andy Buchanan)

Williams revealed that there was, inevitably, friction with her alternate, Marisa Dick, who took her spot in Rio. And she bristled at Dick’s insistence, in recent media interviews, that Williams was injured.

“She is not a doctor,” said Williams. “The medics said ‘you are fine’ (so) I don’t feel she is at liberty to make those statements… I am baffled that she would say that…

“What (the TTGF) did was blatantly unjust and if you’re not against it, you’re for it. I believe that says a lot about character.”

Since her deselection, Williams said the TTGF had not contacted her directly. She did not expect an apology.

“It wasn’t something that I was surprised at, witnessing all the attempts they made to stop me,” said Williams. “(…) There is no apology to be made, because they are not sorry.”

The former Tots and Tumblers gymnast and St Joseph’s Convent (Port of Spain) student laughed derisively at an email from Dick’s mother, Hannifer Dick, which lobbied for Williams’ spot and claimed that the Canada-born athlete did more for Trinidad and Tobago over the last four years.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick (centre) talks to Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) first vice-president Akil Wattley (right) at a local gymnastics meet at the Woodbrook Youth Facility on 23 April 2016. Looking on (bottom left) is Dick's mother, Hannifer Dick. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick (centre) talks to Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) first vice-president Akil Wattley (right) at a local gymnastics meet at the Tacarigua Indoor Sporting Facility on 23 April 2016.
Looking on (bottom left) is Dick’s mother, Hannifer Dick.
(Courtesy Wired868)

“I have been competing for Trinidad and Tobago since I was eight years old,” said Williams, who insisted that the photographs with herself and the Dicks in Brazil were testimony to her professionalism and courtesy. “My first competition was in Peru. I think I placed second on bars…

“I don’t think she is informed as to how much I have done for Trinidad and Tobago gymnastics over my entire career.”

Scotland suggested that various emails—including one from TTGF first vice-president Akil Wattley that was uncomplimentary towards Williams and her coach, John Geddert—will form part of their case of bias against the local body.

They will scrutinise FIG’s behaviour as well. Williams said she did not hand in her accreditation until after 9 am on Saturday morning and Dick could not have been registered until that was done.

Any change within 24 hours of the competition must be accompanied by a medical report confirming injury. But Williams had not even seen the doctor yet.

Photo: FIG men's and women's technical committee presidents Steve Butcher (right) and Nellie Kim at the draw for the Glasgow 2015 World Gymnastics Championship.
Photo: FIG men’s and women’s technical committee presidents Steve Butcher (right) and Nellie Kim at the draw for the Glasgow 2015 World Gymnastics Championship.

“We have not trained our eyes on the local remedies (because) our end purpose has to be to correct this wrong,” said Scotland. “We are not in any way relinquishing our right to sue for breach of contract and for other local remedies.

“But our immediate purpose is to try to see if we can get Thema to the Olympics, as she, in our respectful view, is entitled to be.”

Crowne agreed, even as he suggested that the TTGF might not be a validly operating organisation due to an alleged failure to present audited accounts in the past eight years.

“The FIG has their own disciplinary (committee) that can deal with the TTGF and discipline them,” he said, “but that commission cannot get us an Olympic selection.

“It can hold the TTGF accountable which I think everyone wants to see. But maybe we can all put our hatred aside for that group and (focus on getting) Thema to the Olympics.”

Crowne gave some more details on their potential course of action. The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Tripartite Commission, via the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC), is the next step.

Photo: The entrance to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland. (Courtesy Inside The Games)
Photo: The entrance to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland.
(Courtesy Inside The Games)

If necessary, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will follow.

“The TTOC has to petition at the Tripartite Commission of the IOC,” said Crowne. “Then that commission has to look at all circumstances, which is everything that has surfaced to date and which will eventually surfaced as we go on… What we need is the buy-in from the TTOC and, quite frankly, I don’t think they will oppose that if there is even a chance of Thema getting to the Olympics.

“And if for some reason the Tripartite Commission says ‘no, this doesn’t qualify as an exceptional situation’, the Olympic Charter gives an exclusive right of appeal to CAS.”

Williams’ attorneys believe she has a strong case.

“Most sports cases, you get maybe bias, maybe one breach of procedural fairness,” said Crowne, “but I have never seen a case where there could possibly be a dozen conflicts of interest (and) a dozen breaches of natural justice.

“The appeal brief alone would be about a hundred and something pages. Even for doping cases, it doesn’t get this complex. And there you bring in like six scientists.”

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)

Williams, who comes from a humble background, said she has sacrificed too much to give up now.

“I gave up family time, I gave up school, I gave up friends, I gave up my social life,” she said. “(…) Had I not gone on this Olympic journey, I would have been in school studying engineering and fashion and art…

“I am prepared to go back to Michigan put in the work and represent Trinidad and Tobago at the Olympic Games.”

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  1. Onika, kinda??! Lol I wonder how much of it is given by the public though.

    Still, it’s not ‘quite’ the same

  2. Maurice Burke look your friend starring

  3. Go thema!! I really hope u get thru girl!!!

  4. So you admit to be a witch to Dicks over this situation well guess what, It’s not her fault. she went and earned the spot.

    If you have a problem blame your coach who sent the e-mail that let them know you were injured.

  5. No weapon formed against you would prosper in the name of Jesus

  6. Kinda reminds me of Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan saga

  7. Hopeful all goes well for Thema & Trinidad & Tobago

  8. Quote from Stephan Reis: It is quite clear here that ever single person commenting on Thema being better than Marisa have absolutely no clue what the hell they are talking about… go look at the stats and inform yourselves. The World Championships in Glasgow is the ONLY time EVER that Thema beat Marisa and she had to produce a personal best to do so in a competition where Marisa competed with an injury to her Ribs. Her mother had all right to question the decision by the TTGF to select a gymnast based on one competition. Consistency is what makes an athlete good. Every other federation in the world select their gymnast on that system and therefore it was unfair for both Thema and Marisa to be judged on one competition. Go do your research before your crucify someones ability and character.

    • As true as that is or may be, she should have questioned it prior to agreeing to it.

    • Does he know that Marisa Dick and her mother signed forms pre-World Championship forms, which agreed that the better athlete at the Glasgow competition will go to Rio?

    • Stupid argument. If we playing for the championship because you won against me 3 times previously they should give you the trophy?

      The game has to be played. Dick lost!!

    • Barcelona would still be in the Champions League with that argument and not Atletico Madrid.

    • ahahaha Lasana good point… but.. there are sports that do use Ranklists… Triathlon is one of them…. you have 15 Months to reel in points…. the Races where you can get those points are announced in advance….. a lot of traveling and a lot of money for Hotel…. lol ask Jason Wilson from Barbados about it…. last time he missed out on quali… this time he should make it…

    • Chandani Boodoo, it’s an argument that comes into play in other gymnastic fraternities. It’s just irrelevant here because it was never part of the selection criteria.

    • I don’t think he’s bashing either athlete, but saying it was the TTGF selection process that created this problem.

    • Consistency isn’t a factor in selecting player to a football team?

    • Let’s take this specific scenario into context na Chabeth *wink*

    • Lol.
      Ppl want to act like it’s unheard of to take consistency into account.
      So just asking… ??

    • Yes it is, but if Messi is injured in pre-season and he can’t dribble past Dani Alves in training, you won’t axe him from the squad and replace him with Haddidi (correct me on spelling Lasana, lol)

    • Nah. I’m not buying that Kirwin Weston. At a particular stage, it is about who performs on the day. That is what the T20 World Cup was about.
      And the TTGF criteria was in place for a long time. And Marisa Dick benefited from the same “one off” business when she went to (I think) the Commonwealth Game.
      It is hypocritical for her to use the system when it suits her, sign a contract agreeing to it and then criticise it. That is the same sort of making the rules up as they go along business that the TTGF was doing.
      And consistency isn’t the benchmark for sporting success. I think that is nonsense. Otherwise the World Cup trophy would go to whatever nation was ranked number one in the world and there would be no NBA play offs.

      • Goalposts shifting right through. When Thema thought she scored convincingly, her achievement was ruled invalid yet again in favour of the other team, giving Marias a chance to score now despite having effectively lost the game. Shades of TT vs Haiti in 1973 …

    • Consistency is not the most important thing in sport. I can counter his argument and say that maybe the TTGF wanted the big game player. The person who can compete when the pressure is on.
      Whichever way you want to look at it, the rules are the rules. I would be happy if they changed it. But you can’t sign up to one thing and change it when it suits you.

    • Well the consistency argument is about athletes getting the nod not necessarily an entire team winning a tournament.
      And Messi won’t get axed Kirwin because he’s already consistently proven to be one of the best.
      But the consistency argument comes up in other gymnastics fraternities. But I’ve already said it’s irrelevant to this particular scenario because of the agreements signed and that it should have been raised before signing agreements if it was really a concern.
      But let’s just not act that consistency doesn’t factor into coaches’ decisions in other sports where there is room for subjectivity.

    • Team sports are different and the coach has absolute discretion on the basis that he will face the consequences thereafter. There are different rules for individual sport.
      I don’t mind if they decided to pick based on scores from three competitions. But just say so in advance.

    • Lasana I totally agree with everything you said. What I’m saying is “IF”, gymnastics and gymnastic federations use consistency as a major benchmark for their athletes we can’t dispute that because it’s the norm for their sport. However, the gentleman’s statement (in the picture) has some substance because it shows how the situation could have been avoided again. But in this specific scenario, that does not apply, and Thema is the rightful owner of the spot

    • Kirwin, different associations are free to use whatever criteria they like. But I still think it is shaky anyhow you look it.
      T&T was Caribbean champions and get eliminated by Jamaica in the 1994 World Cup qualifying campaign. Do we appeal and show our Caribbean trophy as grounds?
      Associations decide how they want to go. That’s it.
      The TTGF had that same policy for years and nobody complained.
      If they want to change it now, no problem. But I have to raise my eyebrows when a rule that was fine when Marisa Dick won is suddenly scandalous when Thema Williams wins.

    • I agree chief Lasana. But then if it’s the norm for gymnastics, I can understand. Cross-referencing will confuse things because each sport has its norm.

    • Who says it is a norm for gymnastics Kirwin? Reis?

    • This whole thing could have been avoided in the TTGF had come out after Glasgow and say ” We are delighted that Thema performed so well at the trialsand we thank her for securing a spot at the Olympic trials in Rio for the country. However, we recognise that marisa was injured and we believe that based on her performance over the past x amount of years she should be given the opportunity to qualify for the olympics. We will thus be monitoring the performance of both athletes over the coming months over x amount of comeptitions.” Ppl woulda rail up at first, but it would not have been so shady

      • TTGF proverbially shot itself in the foot by getting both athletes and their parents to agree, up front, that the higher placed athlete in Glasgow would go to Rio. With that, consistency and injury concerns and ‘bad day at the office’ did not and should not matter!

        If the TTGf had the integrity to stick with what everyone had agreed to and told the Dicks “Hard luck, Marisa! But this is what we ALL agreed to beforehand.” then this wouldn’t even be an issue. But I guess when your coach is a sitting TTGF board member who had previously served as its president no less, these things happen.

        Which begs the question, shouldn’t both Lue Shues have recused themselves from any board matter related to Marisa given their direct professional and personal relationship with her? Looks like integrity is truly a hard commodity to find nowadays …

    • That’s why I had “IF” in caps *wink*. And I hope it’s ginger tea you had this morning Lasana =D

    • Kion S Williams that is ridiculous. Lol. What about if Marisa didn’t sleep well the night before? The winner is the winner. Can Real Madrid appeal for full points against Manchester City because Ronaldo didn’t play due to an injury?
      And the TTGF did try to change the rules directly after Glasgow. The TTOC told them they couldn’t.

    • Kirwin Weston No tea whatsoever. Lol. I don’t know that Reis is the Tony Cozier of gymnastics all of a sudden eh. Lol. No disrespect. But my point stands.

    • That’s where the “IF” what he’s saying is correct Lasana, he doesn’t have to be Cozier quality to have info. like that correct.

    • Lasana Liburd, are you seeing the documents that i am posting re: the process in other countries?

    • Kion S Williams, none of that was possible due to the procedure outlined and the agreements signed.

    • This is for the Canadian men only. Couldn’t find the document outlining the women’s procedure.

    • Chabeth, ask Kirwin Weston if he reading them yes. And ask them to send to Reis. So funny that he berates people for not doing research after giving bogus facts. Lol.

    • Yes…but what i am saying is that they clearly had their agenda all along. The plan buss when Thema won in Glasgow in October. However, if they had just come out and tried to change their procedure at that point (in october after glasgow), there would have been a wailing and gnashing of teeth from October to December but by January both camps would have been focusing on doing their best to qualify for Rio and the board would not have been looking so shady. There would have been no need for leaking of pics and daily training updates to nitpick at…and ultimately no last minute changes. Lasana, I have no doubt in my mind that there was another plan in place to remove Thema at a time when she could not reverse the decision, even if Geddart’s email did not provide ammunition.

    • What? Lol.
      Did you read them Lasana?
      Because they support the claim that gymnastics culture takes into account multiple events when making selections for the Olympics.

    • Guys, firstly you have to recognize the difference between the international qualification criteria for Rio that lies with Fig After that there is a process of choosing the Athlete(s) for the country which lies with TTGF. … They can make the selection process any which way they want once it feeds into FIG requirements AND is clearly outlined BEFORE the process starts and then CANNOT be changed. ..and that last part is TTGF problem, that they try to change while progressing, so Lasana is right. …

    • No Chabeth. I stopped when I read here: “The individual all-around champion from the combined two-day competition at the U.S. Olympic Trials automatically qualifies for the U.S. Olympic Team.”

    • Andreas, all some of us are saying is that there is evidence to support the claim that gymnastics culture takes into account more than one event when determining its Olympians.
      Nobody is saying that that is what the TTGF should do now.

    • Lasana, why stop there when the Americans are qualifying a team?
      The top four after the winner don’t automatically get on. There’s a selection committee.
      Also, one country wouldn’t determine the global culture. I’ve put the British, the Australian, and the Canadian men there too. Lol?

    • But if the Americans are your preferred point of reference, did yuh see what they did here back in the day…

    • We are qualifying an individual and not a team Chabeth. We are qualifying one athlete who is essentially our champion. The US has a two day competition to decide its champion.
      So I fail to get the point. Not to mention this irrelevant anyway

    • and all Lasana is saying, if I understand him right that none of that matters at this point. ..all those if may be considered for the next time. But Lasana is right there again, that TTGF goal was never a fair or “customary ” procedure, but one where Marissa will turn out on top. it just never occurred to them that Thema may end up beating her in GLasgow…

    • But Andreas, by Chabeth’s own example, other nations–and an extremely prominent one–also use the same criteria. Which is just to debunk the nonsense about T&T being the only nation in the world to do it.

    • Nobody is disagreeing with the unfair arm of the TTGF or that it’s relevant to the current scenario, Andreas. I think ppl even said it was irrelevant given the contracts signed. Ppl are discussing whether it’s a valid argument in a future context.
      Lasana, because of their dominance, the Americans will always be qualifying a team. The point was that the culture allows for subjectivity. In any case, there are other documents there for those who want to approach the debate with an open mind. Not sure why anybody would want to draw a definitive conclusion on the basis of one source, but the Canadian document for example address the selection on a single athlete.

    • Chabeth, if the argument is every single country does it and you find a single country that doesn’t. The debate is over. When the country found is a regular medal winner, the debate is buried.

    • Every single whatever has to do something for it to be considered the “culture”? Really? Ok then…

    • that’s right, ultimately different NF will rate the importance of consistency vs pressure differently. I personally will always rate pressure higher. ..imagine you have an athlete with 5 4th places for the season rating higher than one with a 1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th and 7th of which the top three scores were in the last three months. the only so the likelihood that he will score another 1st is what?

    • Read the quote again Chabeth about every single association. How many associations make a culture? 75 percent of all associations? I would settle for that.
      The bit about every single nation has already been proven as nonsense.

    • one has to assume he wasn’t ready when the season started

    • this is NOT about culture guys. …it is about results. ..for some. ..cronyism for the others

    • It’s not about whether we rate consistency higher than pressure… It’s whether determination should be made on the outcome of one event or over a period of time.
      I am saying the culture in gymnastics seems to be over a period of time based on the documents that I’ve posted. So that while it is irrelevant to the current local situation and I think without reservation Thema should be the one to go to Rio, it is something that the TTGF needs to look at when establishing its criteria. Because there seems to be merit in suggesting that evaluation should be over a period of time.

    • I was debating Kirwin’s post from Reis, Chabeth.

    • Lasana, I can’t speak for anybody else’s views. All I’m saying is that if counties who are performing better than we are, have a different selection criteria, then it’s worth looking at. In the future. Not re: the current situation.

    • Chabeth what you saying is weight consistency against preessure….

    • Does America perform better than we do Chabeth? There are countries that perform better than we are who have a different criteria. And countries who perform better who have the same criteria.
      There are pros and cons to everything. The consistent team doesn’t always perform best in tournaments. People who follow sport closely know that.
      Leicester City will not be England’s team to beat in the Champions League next season. Consistency is one good quality. But it is very far from the be-all and end-all that it has suddenly become.

      • Let’s look at the footballing world again. The Netherlands has great individual footballers and puts together formidable teams that perform well at international competitions. In fact, right now The Netherlands is in 17th place in FIFA’s team rankings (and is the tenth highest UEFA nation). However, you have to qualify for Euro 2016 through a series of matches and guess what? The Netherlands failed in their qualifying bid and will miss the competition. Should they pull a Dick move and get UEFA to kick out Iceland, who managed to qualify ahead of them? Since Iceland isn’t a ‘consistent’ performer like them?

    • How? If you know your performances over the last however many months are going to be evaluated, or performances from particular meets how is that not consistent pressure? Lol.
      I’m just saying though… The Canadians, British, and Australians, all use evaluation over a period of time so maybe there’s merit in that system.
      The Americans have trials but only the winner is automatically on the team. I’m sure the selection panel considers performances over a period of time when determining who the other spots should go to.

    • Does America perform better than we do in what? Gymnastics, Lasana?

    • It takes a lot of guts for Thema to stand up to the people who have sabotaged her. The only justice will be for her to claim back her rightful shot at the Olympics.

      And just as a side benefit, I would love to see the TTGF”s asses nailed to the wall, everything we already know about them is already enough, imagine what we don’t even know about yet.

      As for who is the better athlete. It’s not debatable. The rules were that the gymnast who performed best at World’s gets the spot. It doesn’t matter what happens from competition to competition, in gymnastics the person who holds it together when it counts wins the prize of the moment. Thema knew what she had to do at Worlds, she did it, and won the spot. Dick’s people don’t get to come up with excuses or suggest Dick didn’t win because she had a rib injury and insist there should be a redo. That’s not how it works. Anyone can be a sore loser and say I would have won except …. excuse……

      As for attacking character. Not attacking. Just talking facts. Dick’s mom, coach Anita, and Dick herself are showing lack of ethics. Mom Hanifer behind the scenes, giving fishy stories about departure and travel times. Her coach Anita trying to manipulate and build up Dick in the media by reporting how unbelievable it was for Dick to just walk off the plane and compete without podium training, that’s nothing to gush about she should be ashamed for allowing her athlete to put herself at risk like that. She brings up about how Dick competed at Worlds despite a rib injury – what’s her point, as much as she can try to discredit Thema’s win,, Thema could come out and say that she still would have beat Dick if she had she not had a rib injury, but Thema is humble and shows good sportsmanship instead. Anita changed her original statement to try and match the mom’s carzy story about their departure time and driving at an absurd speed on the deadly highway out of Ft. McMurray. Dick is in the media, saying Thema was injured as often as she can like if she keeps saying it we will believe she actually believes it herself, and maintains she is an innocent in the whole affair, except she knows now and her sense of entitlement is certainly showing loud and clear.

      So proud of Thema for fighting for what’s hers, and how she is carrying herself. She is a true inspiration.

    • Reis does have a point eh, provided that consistency is key to the selection process by most gymnastics federations. If that’s the norm for gymnastics, then other issues and discussions will be derived. But in this specific scenario, it’s black and white by the argreement between Thema and Dick.
      In most other sports, consistency isn’t the benchmark for reward or else WI could never be World Champions in T20, and Spain wouldn’t have played 2 Euros, and 2WCs. But I get his point.

  9. I think some people are not seeing the forest here because the trees are blocking their view.

    If I set up a competition with fair and unbiased rules that the competitors freely agree to but the “favourite” does not become the eventual winner … Too bad for the “favourite”! I am a rabid Brazil football fan, wanting them to win the World Cup on home soil in 2014 but they lost the semi-final fair and square. And we fans had to accept that! We would not then lobby FIFA to put them in the Final anyway! That would be totally wrong.

    The TTGF set the QUALIFICATION criteria up front, essentially saying that the athlete who placed higher at the World’s event would be the one to go to Rio. Whether Marisa was more ‘consistent’ in performing than Thema becomes irrelevant if that was the specific criteria set by the tTGF. What they (TTGF) did not expect, perhaps, was for ‘inconsistent’ Thema to not only perform well but to blow Marisa out at the World’s event!

    In this drama it seems that Marisa was, is and will always be the TTGF’s preferred candidate, based on her connections through Lue Shue. The TTGF’s reactions since Thema’s qualifiaction last year confirm this. In itself this was not an issue until the TTGF started gerrymandering their own agreed-upon selection criteria to continually manoeuvre Marisa back into contention.

    The TTGF and the Dicks have now made a mockery of the selection process and should be punished for it. Plain and simple. There can be no compromise on Marisa’s selection as she has conveniently benefittted from what has been shown to be a very biased and flawed process. I have to agree with the calls being made that if Thema doesnt go, then let T&T go UNREPRESENTED in Gymnastics. This might end up working in Azerbaijan’s favour but to send Marisa to Rio in this manner is to reward backroom machinations as legitimate means of getting what you didn’t deserve.

  10. Always expect “friction” when “Dicks” involved…..??

  11. oh the headlines with this dick!

  12. I can’t see the international bodies intervening. I think they’ll see it as encroachment on a country’s sovereignty. And it’s up to T&T to change internal procedures so that this doesn’t happen again.

  13. I really don’t see why that girl is getting all this hype. She couldn’t place for Canada and then became a Trini!!!! Thelma sit back and know you did the best you could. That girl won’t even place to make it to the televised competition. I now understand why my friend a former professional athlete stated she will not let her kids rep the islands we treat our own poorly.

  14. Wherever there is a will, there is a way.
    We will rally with Williams.
    There is an old saying, “cheater ‘gouti never win”.
    TTGF is a bunch of cheats.
    And any athlete who benefit from a cheating lie about another athlete being injured, and perpetuate such lie to justify their unmerited surreptitious substitution of their targeted victim, can be considered no less a cheat.
    Fact 1: Thema Williams is not injured.
    Fact 2: Marisa Dick is not a doctor to pronounce that Williams is injured (as justification for cheating her of her Olympic spot).
    In fact, if Dick wants to prove she does not subscribe to cheating, she should apologize to Williams now that she is better educated about the facts.
    We will forgive her.
    After all, her character and reputation should mean more to her than the dubious distinction of satisfying a desicrated desire.

  15. A chance that Dick will be pulled out Butt Wood Willi be Abull to Stand up to the pressure of a last minute insertion?

  16. The US has its Olympic trials. There are strict guidelines there, you can be the world record holder. If you fail to meet qualifying standard at that meet, then no Olympics.

  17. If she doesn’t get awarded her rightful place at the Olympics, I hope that TTOC do the right thing and do not send any representative from T&T to the games for gymnastics.

  18. When all is said and done Thema..try and get your scholarship and do what you wanted to do..forget the nasty people who tried to steal your hard work ❤️

  19. Awww Thema. Stay focused #ambitiongoals

  20. Practically every organization in this place seems to have an allergy to “audited accounts.”

  21. We can only hope that this leads to positive and meaningful change Brian. But we will have to work hard for that.

  22. Listen, please feel free to tell me I’m talking BS. I’m all for athletes who were born in another country but have ties to Trinidad via their parents represent Trinidad in Olympics and other sporting events. The competition is good, if there are 2 athletes (one foreign the other local) competiting for one spot and the foreign athlete is clearly more superior than the local athlete then by all means they can have the spot. However, if we have a case where the foreign athlete is not more superior than the local athlete actually in this case Thema placed 15 spots above Dick in a qualifying event then the preference should go to the local athlete. That’s just my view, Thema was born here not Dick.

  23. I see this reaching CAS. They’re really pressed for time here.

  24. I hope Thema still practicing with all this going on…..

  25. Why would the tripartite commission have a January deadline when final Olympic entries aren’t due until about a month before the Olympics?
    You really have to wonder sometimes whose side any of these organisations are on…

  26. Let’s all hope for a positive outcome.. these people smh..

  27. You would think this incident would give cause to the Ministry to keep closer tabs on all the sporting their actions affect us as a country internationally..

  28. Sad yes. Imagine even in sports we have corruption of some sort a trickle down effect from how our politicians who lead us and some follow blindly smh. Somehow I do not expect a change in the representation but I do expect sweeping changes in this TTGF board after it’s all said and done.

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