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We had no choice! TTOC’s full statement on selection of T&T gymnast Marisa Dick

“The TTOC games management committee has therefore ruled that the TTOC has no choice but to include Marisa Dick in the Team TTO Rio 2016 declaration,” said Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis. “I repeat the decision was significantly influenced by the FIG letter of April 29, 2016, which speaks to the legality of the process of the selection of the named athlete…

“I make bold to suggest that the FIG, for whatever reasons best known to themselves, took the opportunity to throw the TTOC under the bus.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnasts Marisa Dick (right) wave to the crowd during the Opening Ceremony of the Toronto 2015 Pan-American Games at Rogers Stadium, Toronto on July 2015. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnasts Marisa Dick (right) wave to the crowd during the Opening Ceremony of the Toronto 2015 Pan-American Games at Rogers Stadium, Toronto on July 2015.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

The following is the full statement from the TTOC in relation to the selection of gymnast Marisa Dick as Trinidad and Tobago’s representative at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The selection was made by the TTOC’s games management committee, which comprises of TTOC secretary general Annette Knott, Ian Hypolite, Dr Terrence Ali and Diane Henderson.

TTOC statement from president Brian Lewis:

The past few weeks have been gruelling and difficult as this situation has taken on very emotional dimensions in the public glare. We, at the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee, acknowledge the situation has shaken public confidence in the decision making process of Team TTO Rio 2016.

This circumstance and situation is a dark cloud over the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic movement. Public confidence in the governance of sport has been shaken.

This is not what the Olympic spirit and values are about. And we, at the TTOC, deplore the situation that the TTOC has found itself in.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnasts Thema Williams (right) and Marisa Dick have fun sightseeing in Rio, after the Olympic Test event on 17 April 2016. (Courtesy Hannifer Dick)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnasts Thema Williams (right) and Marisa Dick have fun sightseeing in Rio, after the Olympic Test event on 17 April 2016.
(Courtesy Hannifer Dick)

The way in which the lives of two young and talented athletes have been picked apart is not sportsmanship. as a governing body for sport that is highly transparent and regulated by the IOC. We, the TTOC, are bound to uphold certain principles and rules which govern our selection of athletes, including a duty of fairness.

There must be given a fair chance, a fair opportunity and that there must be fairness in all circumstances. Decisions taken in the selection process ought to foresee that they will have a significant impact on the lives and the rights of our athletes. There ought to be procedural safeguards to ensure the attainment of fairness—discriminatory motivations can be subconscious.

The TTOC, in accord with its commitment to good governance and athlete-centred focus, has worked closely with member affiliates to ensure the selection process is carried out with due regard for the duty to be fair. The TTOC contends that national organisations are obliged to act fairly.

The requirements of the duty to be fair are general principles that include the right to a fair hearing. When decision makers have an interest in the outcome of a decision, they ought not to partake in it.

This year at the Olympic Games, we anticipate having an unprecedented number of athletes representing Team Trinidad and Tobago. And this is an achievement of which we must be proud as a society.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis (far left) and games committee members (from right) Dr Terrence Ali, Ian Hypolite and Diane Henderson announce their decision to select gymnast Marisa Dick on their contingent for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on 2 May 2016. Missing from the photograph is games committee member Annette Knott who was abroad. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis (far left) and games committee members (from right) Dr Terrence Ali, Ian Hypolite and Diane Henderson announce their decision to select gymnast Marisa Dick on their contingent for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on 2 May 2016.
Missing from the photograph is games committee member Annette Knott who was abroad.
(Courtesy Wired868)

I now turn to the specifics of the decision. Following a meeting of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee games management committee, a decision was taken in regards of the Team TTO delegation for Rio 2016.

The decision was based primarily, at the end of two days of intense robust, heated discussions. The game changer came (in the FIG release) on Friday the 29th of April, from my perspective, as the president of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (and) not as a member of Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee games management committee, which has been empowered and delegated the power to make decisions.

I find that intervention ‘curious’. Nonetheless, the games management committee, after due consideration of a number of submissions, legal advice from senior counsel Elton Prescott and trustee and attorney Dave Williams, confirmed that the name change from Thema Williams to Marisa Dick was duly made by the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation, in accord with the declaration from the FIG.

That declaration, as I said earlier, was the game changer.

Photo: Sport Minister Darryl Smith (centre) meets with TTGF president David Marquez and his executive committee in 2015. (Courtesy Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs)
Photo: Sport Minister Darryl Smith (centre) meets with TTGF president David Marquez and his executive committee in 2015.
(Courtesy Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs)

Additionally, the process by the games management committee in selecting athletes for the Olympic Games was respectfully followed. This process entails: confirmation of the eligibility of the athlete, confirmation of the qualification process by the FIG. The TTOC games management committee has therefore ruled that the TTOC has no choice but to include Marisa Dick in the Team TTO Rio 2016 declaration.

I repeat the decision was significantly influenced by the FIG letter of April 29, 2016, which speaks to the legality of the process of the selection of the named athlete.

Notwithstanding this, the TTOC has considered issues surrounding the process and will be invoking its authority under Clause 13 of its constitution to determine whether the TTGF has infringed the TTOC constitution, the Olympic charter, and the International Olympic Committee’s code of ethics in respect of their duty to be fair.

(FIG Official Communication)

Considering number of requests and questions received from various stakeholders and the media from Trinidad and Tobago concerning the registration of the Women’s Artistic Gymnastics athletes Thema Williams and Marisa Dick at the Test Event (Last Olympic Qualification) in Rio de Janeiro and FIG’s qualification rules for the Olympic Games, FIG releases the following Statement:

1. The dispute between Thema Williams and the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation is an internal affair of Trinidad and Tobago, its legal and sports authorities.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnasts Thema Williams (right) and Marisa Dick pose for a photograph while sightseeing in Rio, after the Olympic Test event on 17 April 2016. (Courtesy Hannifer Dick)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnasts Thema Williams (right) and Marisa Dick pose for a photograph while sightseeing in Rio, after the Olympic Test event on 17 April 2016.
(Courtesy Hannifer Dick)

2. We confirm that the initial registration of Thema Williams to participate at the Qualifying Event in Rio was duly made by the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation, respecting the FIG’s rules. The place was not nominative and the Federation therefore had the free choice to select and register at their discretion.

3. We confirm that the name change from Thema Williams to Marisa Dick was duly made by the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation, respecting the FIG’s rules (including time limits) which allow such a change.

4. We confirm that Marisa Dick has successfully competed at the qualifying event in Rio and has obtained a nominative place to participate at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

5. This place must be confirmed by the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee as soon as possible, but no later than May 9, 2016. Failure to do so will result in the automatic invitation of the next best ranked All-Around athlete from the qualifying event in Rio (1st Reserve).

6. Since the qualification place earned by Marisa Dick is nominative, no name change or replacement is possible.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymast Marisa Dick. (Copyright Christy Ann Linder)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymast Marisa Dick.
(Copyright Christy Ann Linder)

Lewis responded to point one of the FIG release by saying: “I make bold to suggest that the FIG, for whatever reasons best known to themselves, took the opportunity to throw the TTOC under the bus.”

(TTOC Constitution)

Clause 13 titled —“Measures and Sanctions”:

When a member has failed to fulfil his/her or its duties. has infringed the Olympic Charter, the IOC Code of Ethics and/or this Constitution or has not respected or implemented the decisions or resolutions of the organs of the IOC, he/she or it may be subject to the following graduated measures and sanctions (depending on the gravity of the facts and the level of damage or infringement):

(a) Warning, (b) Suspension, (c) Expulsion.

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73 comments

  1. It ain’t over till the fat lady sings…affecting the employment of mister and misses at the international school where some of my friends’ kids attend…. parents getting involved, they do not like the bitter taste hanging over the heads of the individuals.

  2. The excuses are just that in t&t the colour of your skin is still the deciding factor on many issues

  3. I believe everything happens for a reason! Maybe,the lord did not want Thema to go. Because, if she was destined to go she would! He has her life in his hand, he knows best. I am amazed at how people could say real harsh ,nasty things and bring God in it! Peace

  4. Feel sorry for both these girls!

  5. The more I read dispassionate accounts of what went on, the more I realize how contrived and unnecessary the hatred towards Marisa is. It has almost been engineered by a hasty media on a public that took some reports as gospel and now, silly ignorant hatred is rampant. The ACTUAL flow of events (which hasn’t had the time to make the rounds because fiction is easier and sells better) sounds much more realistic than the conspiracy theory which has been created.
    I always say, I’m sure when I die, this media is going to muck it up and by the time they’re done I’ll probably end up being disgraced teacher who pushed drugs and was in liege with Satan. (I’ll be facepalming in the afterlife and waiting with a bull pistle for those storytellers.)

  6. Well after they choreographed the whole thing to fall within ioc guides,they gave thelma no chance of getting justice

  7. Team Thema. Marissa shame on you.

  8. I don’t care THema all the way

  9. Dear Thema, sue the socks off of them . let them pay for the damages emotional and otherwise. Take the money and train keep your self fit, yuh young you have at least two more Olympics in yuh (not sure of yuh age )and pray that this Dick Can stand up and not shame us all on the world stage.

  10. At this stage even if Marisa goes on to win gold by a world record tally of points in an all perfect performance, Trinis will still hate her. So when she does come in like 45th or whatever be prepared to hear the snarls and ‘I told you so’s and cackles of derisive laughter. Poor girl is set to have a lonely Olympics. She must really want this.

  11. ” It goes on. It goes on, Judah. The race… the race… is not… over! ” -Messala.

  12. God is Alive and well and so is Karma. The best is yet to come.

  13. Thema Williams who gave up a scholarship for love of country was replaced by someone who only showed love of self. Pride goeth before a fall.

  14. If I had any power i would strip her of her “Trinidadian” citizenship. I bet she doesn’t know 1/5th of what a true trini newborn baby knows…

  15. They would sleep very well. They do not care who they have to step on to get to the top.

    No worries. What she puts in is what she will get out.

  16. TTOC I don’t care about your excuses. Victory without honour should be your motto. Good thing God don’t sleep and karma is a bitch. Good luck to you all, my slimy friends… you will reap what you sow…

  17. One/we ALWAYS have a choice. That’s why we’re on planet Earth – the planet of choice. I wpnder if these ppl are aliens – disguised as earthlings. Oh snap no! My bad. Aliens are very smart, FAIR beings. #eeediaaaceeeineffect #moreinthemortarthanthepestle

  18. 10 GOLD by 2024. NOT IF MY MONEY HAS TO HELP. What guarantee does any of our athletes have that hard work is what will guarantee their place?

  19. It is clearly understood why Ms. Dick would be the choice for Rio…..hopefully Ms. Williuams will make an EXAMPLE and take the local association the FULL DISTANCE[ex parte if possible] so that they will pay for their FOLLY OUT OF THEIR POCKETS !

  20. I always love looking at the gymnastics. But I am sorry boycotting the Olympic for sure!!!!!!!!!

  21. Bull Shit Brian Lewis. Yo don’t have to send a gymnast.

  22. So it seems that the Dicks and the Lue shues are elite athletes in the sport of corruption. I’m not convinced that the TTOC hands were tied. Is it that the FIG could not be questioned and if they say all the rules were followed did that make it so? Couldn’t the TTOC have dug deeper to verify the time lines as to how and when Marisa Dick was duly accredited? Given that it was common knowledge that no medical report was submitted to effect Thema’s official withdrawal. Did the TTOC not appreciate the fact that sending an unwanted athlete just to create history would sully and sour the entire Trinidad and Tobago Olympic campaign when we keep seeing Dicks face as a reminder of the fact that the TTGF screwed us all? Did they really have no choice?

  23. There should not have accept the spot

  24. Interesting that they used the words Fair and fairness about 7 times in their statement. Not sure they know the meaning of the word!

  25. You always have a choice… Send no one on principle was an option!!!!

  26. national enquirer relax it nah you only increasing the hate with your propaganda!

  27. Due to the ineptitude of those who could by some measure done something. The ttoc has sealed their fate based on their deliberations to stand on the wrong side of history…….does making history seem more important than ethical responsibility principle and integrity? Once again cronyism and nepotism has prevailed

  28. it saltier than a mermaid’s vag in here lol

  29. The TTGF has said to a generation of youth, work hard, dedicate your time and you will achieve everything you dream of. What they failed to tell you is, you can have all the skill, put in the hard work, be more competent but if your family dont know the right people, you will go no where….
    Cronyism and Nepotism is the order of the day in this place!

  30. And with that BS response……..????

  31. Her actions shows that she just does not care about anyone other than herself. She is hungry for fame snd will even watch her fellow gymnast be wrongfully denied a chance at the olympics just so that she can take part. Seems like mama knows now to pull strings too. Shame on all of them.

  32. I’m sorry but I can’t support Dick. What about the standard of excellence, of sportsmanship, of ethical behavior that is expected in an Olympic athlete. ??

  33. This man is a Dick himself?

  34. So there goes the Olympics for me. I am not even going to watch. this is such a shame

  35. The FIG did not throw us under the bus. We threw ourselves under the bus by vacillating on putting our feet down and assuring the leaders of TTGF understand the concerns of the masses, that favoritism seemed to be in play, that such goes against the Olympism, and TTOC will not support TTGF.

  36. What assess is this you had no choice, you always have a choice, you choose to uphold the wrong by the TTFG. Shame on this country.

  37. ..So let’s see if TTOC has the balls to stand on principle and defend what is right by not confirming this place. Or let’s see if they just want to hide in broad daylight

  38. ..”This place must be confirmed by the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee as soon as possible, but no later than May 9, 2016. Failure to do so will result in the automatic invitation of the next best ranked All-Around athlete from the qualifying event in Rio (1st Reserve).”..

    • The TTOC could have defaulted the decision in lieu of what transpired between the ttgf thema attorneys should been moving full steam from day one. The allowed the TTOC to stymie their progress by waiting for TTOC to make the announcement

  39. The TTOC could have refused Marissa under own selection criteria they are allowed to do. However. like TTGF they would have to to have done that before the process started, since they failed to do so the only criteria they have is the Olympic Charter which has to be abide to by all athletes…. with FIG stating the process as legal, they basically pointing out that any of the provisions in the Charter can not be applied. I dont think they can be directly punished, but sued, by TTGF, Dick and i’d say FIG…. and if the IOC wants to get involved, they can suspend TTOC to the tunes that no athlete from any sport is allowed to go to Rio…

    • This! I wish other boards could act as watchdogs for each other. If someone anyone could have said hold up something isn’t right. Drawn it to the public and the TTOC attention months ago to allow for timely intervention then maybe we wouldn’t be here right now.

    • So it seems that the Dicks and the Lue shues are elite athletes in the sport of corruption. The last time the country felt so violated was when Kamla and her 40 thieves were raping the country.

    • Abeo Jackson That still would have been too late…. the Glasgow selection was ok to the point it was honoured, by the time it became clear that was not the case TTOC could not have made own criteria again, aside those criteria are toi be understood tobe additional, like the Athlete is only qualified if he/she placed in the top 20 (even though 55 still got her a spot…)

    • Rose-Marie Ingrid Lemessy-Forde that not too long ago….

  40. I would have taken a nice country’s pride, justice for all, enough is enough lawsuit

  41. Lasana what legal ramifications would TTOC have faced if they had declined the spot?