“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.