Home / Rio 2016 / New topless photo rocks gymnastics; Marisa and Thema sent to disciplinary committee

New topless photo rocks gymnastics; Marisa and Thema sent to disciplinary committee

The Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) has decided to send its two top athletes, Thema Williams and Marisa Dick, to its Disciplinary Committee, after the local body was rocked by a second topless photograph this morning.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick competes at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. Dick placed 14th with a total of 51.25. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick competes at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.
Dick placed 14th with a total of 51.25.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

On Tuesday, the TTGF received a topless Instagram photo of Rio-bound 20 year old Trinidad and Tobago gymnast, Williams, which was also forwarded to the local gymnastics community and media.

The local body met on Williams’ matter yesterday evening and came to a decision.

However, before the TTGF could make a press statement today, its executive members were stunned to receive another topless photograph—this time of its 2015 Sportswoman of the Year nominee, Marisa Dick.

TTGF secretary Elicia Peters Charles confirmed that she received a photograph of the 18 year old Dick today, which was forwarded to roughly 40 other email addresses including members of the media.

As a result, the local gymnastic body delayed its announcement, so as to pronounce on both athletes at the same time. The final decision, revealed today by press release, was that both athletes will be sent to the TTGF’s disciplinary committee.

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

“With reference to photographs on social media of National Elite Athletes Thema Williams and Marisa Dick,” stated the TTGF release, “the Federation has decided, in accordance with the athletes’ agreements and the Constitution of the Federation, to refer their matters to the Disciplinary Committee.

“The committee is scheduled to meet next week to deliberate. As soon as the committee is finished with its deliberations, a further release would be sent.”

The highlighted photographs—both of which show very little or none of the breasts of the respective athlete—look set to be a distraction for the gymnastic fraternity during what should be a historic year for the local sport.

Last October, Williams moved a step closer to becoming Trinidad and Tobago’s first gymnast to compete at an Olympics when she qualified for this April’s Rio Olympic Test Event, after a 59th place finish at the Glasgow 2015 World Artistic Gymnastic Championship. Dick, who earned global attention for having a special mount patented last month, finished 77th out of 192 participants in Glasgow.

Trinidad and Tobago has just one available artistic gymnastic spot for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and, if Williams is ruled out for any reason before April, Dick will take her place.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick.
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick.

Bizarrely, Dick’s photograph was forwarded by someone who identified themselves as “Kamara Heinz.”

On Tuesday, a mysterious Georgette Heinz sent a topless image of Williams to the TTGF, the local gymnastic community and the media and demanded action against the 20 year old athlete.

Nobody within the local community knew Georgette Heinz or whether her identity was fake. The poster did not respond to an email from Wired868.

It is uncertain who is behind either email. But they are not assumed to be the same person.

Tuesday’s email carried a long moral speech while this morning’s message contained only a photograph.

Like Tuesday, today’s photograph, which appeared to be taken on Snapchat, did not reveal the teenager’s breasts and might not generally be considered lewd.

Photo: This photograph of Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick was forwarded to the local gymnastics community and media by "Kamara Heinz" this morning.
Photo: This photograph of Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick was forwarded to the local gymnastics community and media by “Kamara Heinz” this morning.

By evening, though, a “Melissa Grant”, who described herself as “a concerned parent and citizen”, joined the e-mail exchange and sought to defend Williams by claiming that her Instagram photo was taken for “black awareness advocacy” while suggesting that Dick’s snap was “somewhat more revealing.”

Grant, who re-posted Dick’s topless photograph and introduced a third image to the conversation, insisted that if the TTGF tried to block Williams from competing at the Rio Olympics, it would be left with no gymnast at all due to the leaked image of Dick.

“The question really to ask is, has any young lady really shamed anyone?” asked Grant, via email. “Also, does the Federation want to send the message that despite talent, being ashamed of your body is the only way to represent the country at the olympics.

“We trust that the Federation will drop this matter and allow Thema to compete due her talent—as nothing appears to be shameful in her photo. Because if they do disqualify her, who will then represent the country—because obviously Marisa can not go either.

“Interestingly enough, neither young woman is wrong in celebrating their bodies.”

Grant’s other photograph, which she described as food for thought, showed the Canada-born gymnast in a Trinidad and Tobago jersey next to a Canada sign. In the caption, Dick stated: “I may be Trinidadian out on the floor but I’m still Canadian at heart.”

Photo: An Instagram snap of Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick. (Courtesy Melissa Grant)
Photo: An Instagram snap of Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick.
(Courtesy Melissa Grant)

Grant said she was annoyed by Dick’s split loyalties.

“It really is a sore spot when Marisa is claiming her Canadian Citizenship despite being funded by the TT Government,” said Grant, “just some food for thought.”

Grant did not say whether she was responsible for the original release of Dick’s topless photo this morning. And she did not respond to Wired868’s enquiry on that matter by the time of publication.

However, it has, arguably, transformed an exciting period for Trinidad and Tobago gymnastics into a soap opera.

There was widespread support for Williams yesterday, as the TTGF met to consider “action” against the former Tots and Tumblers and St Joseph’s Convent (Port of Spain) athlete.

The local body had installed a clause in its new contract with the two girls, which required them to swear that: “I am a representative of TTFG and must conduct myself in a manner that upholds the name, reputation and goodwill of TTGF… As such, my conduct publicly known and not publicly known must not reflect poorly upon or bring discredit to TTGF, its other athletes, its coaches or its events and programs.

“My conduct extends beyond actions on the field of play, including but not limited to

actions/posting/images disseminated in the public domain.”

Williams had pointed out that her own photograph was taken in February 2015 and was meant to be artistic. It was removed from her Instagram account—which is private—within 24 hours after her American coach, John Geddert, voiced concerns.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams. Williams said she left this photo up for just one day before removing it in February 2015. It was circulated on Tuesday 24 February 2016 by "Georgette Heinz." (Courtesy Georgette Heinz)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams.
Williams said she left this photo up for just one day before removing it in February 2015.
It was circulated on Tuesday 24 February 2016 by “Georgette Heinz.”
(Courtesy Georgette Heinz)

“Georgette Heinz” either held on to a screen shot of the image or attained it and released it to the media, a year later.

The TTGF, which is headed by president David Marquez, allegedly decided yesterday evening to send Williams before its disciplinary committee to answer questions on her image.

Before the TTGF could release its decision, though, its executive members received a topless image of Dick this morning. Dick’s topless photograph was allegedly taken in February 2016.

Wired868 tried unsuccessfully to contact Dick.

“We made a decision (on Williams) but we don’t want to disclose it yet,” Peters Charles told Wired868, earlier today. “A photograph came to my phone before 10 am today and, based on that, I don’t think it would be prudent of us to send out a press release which pronounces on one person and not the other.

“So we have to schedule a second meeting and then send a comprehensive release dealing with both situations.”

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

The eventual decision was that both athletes will face the same fate.

Once all goes well at April’s Test Event, Trinidad and Tobago should have its first ever artistic gymnastic participant at an Olympic Games.

Williams is in pole position for that honour while Dick will deputise in case of an emergency.

It is still uncertain what impact—if any—the leaked photographs would have on either’s dreams of Olympic glory.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams.
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams.

(Melissa Grant email)

In an interesting turn of events, while the TT Gymnastics Federation is considering banning Thema Williams over an email from a “Concerned Parent” claiming she has shammed the Federation and the country for posting a “nude” (Photo attached, which a) is not nude and b) was posted for black awareness advocacy). Here, we have her potential replacement Marisa Dick, posting a somewhat more revealing photo to SnapChat celebrating her fifth placement at an event.

The question really to ask is, has any young lady really shamed anyone? Also, does the Federation want to send the message that despite talent, being ashamed of your body is the only way to represent the country at the olympics.

We trust that the federation will drop this matter and allow Thema to compete due her talent—as nothing appears to be shameful in her photo, because if they do disqualify her, who will then represent the country—because obviously Marisa can not go either. Interestingly enough, neither young woman is wrong in celebrating their bodies.

Hopefully good sense prevails.

A concerned Parent ~ And Citizen.

PS: It really is a sore spot when Marisa is claiming her Canadian citizenship despite being funded by the TT Government—just some food for thought.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick. (Courtesy Sport Archives TT)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick.
(Courtesy Sport Archives TT)

Editor’s Note: Wired868 used Thema Williams’ topless photograph with her permission, so as to demonstrate its relative tameness.

We also believe that Marisa Dick’s photograph is not lewd and the athlete will be better off by readers making their own minds up, rather than using their imagination to speculate—especially as Williams’ photo has been used.

Wired868 has been unable to make contact with Dick so far but will be eventually guided by her as to whether that photograph remains on our website.

Wired868 will also like to make it clear that we support the right of persons born to Trinidad and Tobago parent(s) outside of our borders to represent our country and contribute to our success in every field, including sport.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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205 comments

  1. I saw the pictures and I don’t see anything wrong with the picture. Please give de young woman a chance…she worked hard to get where she is…Go for Olympic gold…reach for the stars…give de youths a chance.

  2. Why is it that just when someone gets a break thru or about to do something big these pics come afloat? Jus curious

  3. What Is Morality?

    For a topic as subjective as morality, people sure have strong beliefs about what’s right and wrong. Yet even though morals can vary from person to person and culture to culture, many are practically universal, as they result from basic human emotions. We may think of moralizing as an intellectual exercise, but more frequently it’s an attempt to make sense of our gut instincts. Morality is also about having the skills needed to treat people well everyday–knowing how to help others without patronizing them, say, or how to give feedback constructively.

  4. Even that coming from the TTFF zealots might be too much

  5. A quiet word about boundaries would have sufficed.

    • This was never about boundaries tho.

    • Almost certainly. No. I can’t say for absolute certain. But it doesn’t seem that way.

    • Boundaries have nothing to do with changing of contracts after the fact, of attempting to change qualification rules after the qualifying event, nor does it explain the choice of nominee for sportswoman of the year.

      The photos have become the focus and the discussion continues to be about them, but life continues beyond them and all the players still need to work together – presumably for quite some time to come.

    • The boundaries is in relation to use of social media and nothing else. All professional sport teams now have rules governing use of social media. I’m sure many companies do too.
      That isn’t to say that the photos were lewd and certainly has nothing to do with changing contracts or threatening anyone’s place for the Olympics.
      Just a nice sensible chat with two young national athletes.

  6. Don’t know much about gymnastics, did not enjoy learning about our Olympic potential in this manner. There is no issue here with the women’s bodies pictures however it appears that a serious competition gone ruthless.

    Good luck to both women; let it be decided on the mat, rings, balance beam, horse, etc.

  7. Trinidad is full of hypocritical idiots. The entire TTGF should resign just for being stupid.

  8. Too many bored ‘concerned parents’ without the guts to use their own names in this fraternity! Get a hobby or charity to better spend your time! But this is also a good lesson for our young generation on how social media can be used against you years later by petty individuals! So use these tools cautiously!

  9. ‘Rocked’?…What if the images were ‘bottomless’?… this might be earthquake maybe?
    We just had a grand national festival of virtual topless-to-bottomless revelry!

  10. Steups classier than some carnival costumes. What’s the real story. Who doesn’t want them in Rio

  11. Y’know, our gymnasts will be all the news in Rio. To the evermore shallow international press, this gives them a chance to get rid of those pesky stories about Government cost overruns and this Zika “chupidness.”
    As I once heard in a soca song, ” Ah hope they cud hangle ittt”

  12. For anything to be sent to a disciplinary committee, there must first be an investigation of which all parties are aware and part of, then if necessary charge(s) will be laid with the defendant(s) being presented with the charge and given the time and opportunity to prepare for their appearance before said committee. I wonder what the charge(s) look like and moreso if said charge(s) do indeed constitute a charge(s). In any event due process is a priority and the defendant(s) must at all times be given the opportunity to be heard.

  13. The next make football player to take off his jersey in public will get ban for 6 months. A second violation will be a lifetime ban. You’ve been warned!

  14. Lasana and Kenneth, I think if a country is not proficient and participatory in a sport it should invest in athletes who have no real allegiance to the country. The funds could be better spent developing the sport if so desired. The two athletes should not be asked to represent the country.

    • What? Have you done your research on T&T sports? Do you have any idea about local gymnastics. Are you saying that those of us who are dual citizens of Trinidad and Tobago should not represent T&T? Are you saying that Ato J. Boldon, for example, should not have represented T&T? Are you saying that Chris Birchall should not have been on the T&T 2006 Soca Warriors squad? Please explain and be specific because there are many sportsmen and women with dual citizenship we are dealing with!

    • Yes, I’m saying all to that, in favour of using the same funds to develop the sport and sportsmen within the country. I’m not in favour of persons with dubious allegiance using our hard earned tax dollars for their moment in the sun or for the country’s five minutes of dubious marketing and/or image exposure. The funding of our local athletes does much more to advance their talents as well as build character, which you will admit is sorely needed today in T&T!

    • Well. Nigel Gittens. You are late! Have you not heard of LifeSport? Have you not heard of the $400 million TTDs mismanaged by the Ministry of Sport and the alleged multitude of kickbacks involving elite athletes funding etc. And what dubious allegiances are you referring; what evidence you have of that?

    • Ha ha! You make laugh Kenneth LifeSport? Really? How did that enter our dialogue? I’ll ignore. Just to say that we should follow Jamaica in their athletics program and only sponsor their homegrown athletes and not seek to import any! If we were serious like Jamaica we would be much more successful!

    • Nigel Gittens Of course, you will ignore LifeSport because you have no idea of its negative impact on T&T sports. Like I said you are late on this one. You need to be informed so you should attend the next NAAA, TTFA, TTGF, TTCF, TTOC general meetings and participate with an unbiased ear. Then and only then you can consider yourself informed on T&T sports. Peace…

    • What is your take on Shaka Hislop Nigel? He was born in England to two Trini parents. Came to Trinidad from four years old and grew up here before making it big. But he always caught grief for having two passports.
      I don’t think that’s fair. Trinidad and Tobago is actually one of the more difficult countries to get a passport for. You can get one in the Netherlands just for working in the country for two years.
      Anyone who is able to get a Trinidad and Tobago passport deserves it I think.

    • I do understand that you will feel a special pride for your homegrown athlete because they came out from your own system. I’ve no problem with that. But I won’t be too hard on those athletes who leave their countries of birth and fly here to fly our flag in international tournaments.
      Our administrators are no thrill to work with.

    • Lasana and Kenneth, my final word on this. I’m prepared to sacrifice all the country exposure and imagery to be gained by importing athletes for the development of our local and home based athletes. I think the international sporting public is beginning to see through all this. Shaka Hislop is not a good example of this Lasana because although he was born in the UK he was really bred in T & T (I think he went to CIC). Kenneth I continue to have difficulty understanding your point of view.

    • Nigel Gittens You talk about Jamaica as though you are involved in their process. One thing they do not do is ignore those ‘Jamaicans’ who were ‘bred’ abroad. They have an open mind. That’s the problem with we, Trinis, we closed minded and we tend to cut off our noses every time we get… which brings us back to Thema and Marisa. Marisa has invented and patented a thrilling mount unto the balance beam that the gymnastic world admires and recognizes and we in T&T are talking about morals, ethics and dotishness about Trini bred and the like. It’s pure ignorance, stupidity, pettiness, vindictiveness,and selective (cronyism & nepotism). AH done, peace…

    • Nigel, I know there will be different points of view and I respect that.
      All I will say is don’t be too harsh on the athletes. I’m sure Marisa paid her own way to come to Trinidad to try out. And probably on more than one occasion too.
      Everybody jumped up when Chris Birchall scored that stunning equaliser against Bahrain that kept our 2006 World Cup dreams alive.
      So we can’t have our cake and eat it too.

    • Lasana I am one of a significant minority who never agreed with the Birchall import! Paula which athlete has Jamaica ever imported to represent it at (athletics) in the Olympic Games or World Championships? None, because they have concentrated on developing it’s own local talent and they have done so with great success! T&T can learn from this!

    • Nigel, I know in football about 60 percent of Jamaica’s team is imported. Jamaica qualified for the FIFA World Cup before Trinidad on the backs of more than half a dozen players born outside its borders like Deon Burton, Fitzroy Simpson, Frank Sinclair, Marcus Gayle, etc…
      I can’t talk about track and field but I know about Jamaica in football. And I believe they used an Australia-born cricketer once on their regional team.

    • I have a very simplistic view on this topic. At a young age or even prior to birth, a person has no say on residency. However, what is wrong with a person when they can make their own decision, seek out a new country where what she / he has to offer can mutually benefit both country and the person. Birchall is a great example, he has Trini roots, he had a skill we required, he worked hard on the field, we invested in him, we went to the world cup ( Country’s Return On Investment – his goals and play time contributed ), and his R.O.I – he was able to grace the world cup stage, a feat that many of his peers in England may not experience. WIN WIN !

    • Lasana , Jamaica suffers the same ethical duplicity that many countries suffer including T & T. The JAAA would not dare import an athlete to represent them in track, nor would Pan Trinbago allow the import of a foreign panman to represent in a national steelband orchestra (if there was such a thing).

    • I’d welcome overseas-born nationals in any field once they have something beneficial to contribute. In the same way we accept locals who study or train abroad.

  15. It would be nice if we got all the props but not realistic. Canada has something to do with her development and who she is too. That’s just the reality of the situation.

  16. Trinidad and Tobago benefits as well, Nigel Gittens and Christopher Olliverre. It works both ways. Nothing is disturbing about that, especially since Trinidad and Tobago, on behalf of Marisa Dick’s ingenuity, is now recognized in the world of gymnastics for a new mount unto the balance beam!

  17. All I can say, it pays to have good moral behaviour

  18. She has received funding from the T&T government Nigel. Although when she competes and does well, it is under Trinidad and Tobago. So we benefit too, if you look at it that way.

  19. I waiting to see the outcome… As a country we should send consistent messages about female empowerment. How can one week feminists protesting and saying female body should not be policed, they should be allowed to parade publicly in any state of undress they choose and following fortnight an adult female’s Instagram post be potential cause for disqualification from TT Olympic representation? #somebullshit On a personal note I was named after Nadia Comaneci so I have been following this possible first time qualification as a nice gift from the Universe to celebrate my 40th birthday and the ’76 games and was therefore considering a trip to Rio in August #turnedoffnow

  20. I don’t gt this..there were many gymnasts who posed naked of their own free will n nobody made a hurrah…so what is the big damn deal…it was their private photos that some mischief maker posts….let’s gt over this n support our girls…stop fighting down each other….that is why we always second n never number one…

  21. I was just about to post this when I saw you had already done so Andrew.. TALK DONE!!!