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. Her use of her Trinidadian roots to try to gain exposure on the world stage while still admitting her real loyalty to Canada is more disturbing to me! Has this young lady received elite athlete funding from the Government of TT?

  2. Call Heinz in ……Let’s see/hear her!

  3. Smh. #PureHate. If it is not my daughter then nobody going. Hmph

  4. So If a female athlete happens to play carnival right, and plays with the most revealing band, like a nipple covering band. A photographer gets their photo and post it on facebook(socialmedia) ?? Will that be a reason to be thrown to the disciplinary committee? I wonder…

  5. I wonder what the decision was before Dick’s breastgate ? Hmmm

  6. Lasana ,someone or group sat down and conspired to do this….leave no stone unturned…..agent Lasana we need to find this person or persons….

  7. What interests me is the alleged split loyalties I recall last time we funded a boxer….and we know how that turned out we must be wary of these situations .

  8. Further, Phelps was caught smoking weed, but he was still welcomed back, well he would have been, but he did not qualify. When we going to stop fighting each other down.

  9. Remember we really don’t know who sent the photos though. So we have to be careful with who we blame for it.

  10. Well one person who was fighting down the young lady (Miss Williams) had her routine recognized at international level, I am sure will pull her head back into her shell.. and now others have jumped on the band wagon including a disciplinary committee, who I hope have established guidelines and not just voice personal opinions like the original complainant. This entire episode is being given the attention and importance that it doesn’t really deserve, all due to some antiquated thinking which I am sure no other body world wide even thought about pursuing. BTW..where were these critics when these young ladies were bussing their butts trying to perfect a dismount…..BUNCH OF HYPOCRITICAL OPPORTUNISTS….Ah real vex yes.

  11. looks like Dick’s camp got a taste of their own medicine. what do you really think they decided to do with Williams at that meeting?

  12. in canada it is legal for women to walk around topless. just fyi.

  13. Btw, am I the only one thinking Kamara Heinz was a misspelled attempt at the pseudonym Karma?

  14. The reaction from the TTGF suggests to me that they were planning to ban Ms. Williams and had to backtrack when the second photograph became public. Obviously they cannot ban one and not the other now so they will have to find another reason to disqualify Ms. Williams now. It’s a complete farce now.

    One thing wasn’t clear Lasana – when were the new contracts issued? Was it before Ms. Williams posted her picture or after?

  15. It is bloody amazing to me how Trinidad and Tobago people like to shoot themselves in the foot. What is a simple issue has been blown completely out of proportion UNNECESSARILY

  16. ..If was Carnival day this would not be an issue. Womantra on the alert!..

  17. It’s pretty simple. Someone didn’t do their homework and the plot to get Thema kicked out backfired. Federation caught with egg on its face and pants down.

  18. Who knew Gymnastics in Trinidad was this exciting…lol !!!

  19. They really turning what should be an exciting time into a dam soap opera. Neither of those photos are even mildly offensive. And Marisa Dick’s pledge for Canada is understandable since it’s the land of her birth. Lots of athletes of Trinidad parentage have represented us in track, football etc and we are always happy to have them. Why does this concerned parent want to stir up resentment toward Marissa who made a name for herself (and us) by her signature move? As far as I’m concerned the federation should drop the whole issue and move on. They should never have sent either gymnast to any disciplinary committee. Thats just wasting time and damaging the reputation of all concerned. .especially the TTGF because they looking real dotish and prudish. They should just move on. Both these girls have to prepare because Marisa is like the runner up.

    • Yeah, Rose-Marie, we are happy to have foreign based athletes represent us who want to and are not just using us to get to where they want to go. We mustn’t be so quick to accept condescension and disrespect. Let a black athlete represent Canada or England or the US or France and talk about they’re happy to represent whatever country but their heart belongs to Ghana or Kenya or Senegal. That really wouldn’t fly with the Canadian or American public etc etc.

    • I don’t really understand your analogy. I’m sure there are black athletes running for France for instance but everybody knows they’re African. I don’t see Marisa statement that her heart is Canadian as condescension or disrespect to Trinidad. It’s not like that Spanish boxer (can’t remember his name) that we sent to the Olympics and he lost his fight and then bad talk Trinidad afterwards. While it might be true she may not be good enough to make a Canadian national team if she were to compete at the Olympics and put on the Red White and Black of her parents country it’s Trinidad that would get the recognition. I would say it’s a mutually beneficial relationship.

    • Yes and all those Africans running for other countries talk about how happy they are to be representing the country they’re running for. They don’t say their heart belongs to the African country.
      Why wear one country’s national colours, get on a podium under that country’s flag, and be the reason that country’s anthem plays if your heart belongs elsewhere?
      And this particular athlete is taking taxpayers money through the elite funding program and publicly proclaiming that her heart belongs somewhere else? Why are we funding her development if your real love of country is for another country?
      I’m not saying I don’t expect her to love Canada but I think it’s insulting to talk about your heart belonging to them when we are the ones funding you and when you’re trying to displace athletes whose hearts belong to us.

    • She has no common sense and certainly lacks diplomacy.

    • Rose-Marie the question here is: Why are you representing TTO, if your heart is with Canada…. in that case you should follow your heart… that would be a serious issue as administrator for me too. I’m born German and only have a German passport, but my heart is with Trinidad. My sons have already been briefed that if they succeed in sports some day they will have to make that choice and to do it with their heart (they are dual citizens)…

    • In Triathlon we do look for Trinidad Heritage Athletes outside just like other Federations too, it speeds up the learning curve and increases pool to some extent, but you gotta have to be in with more than just getting money….. if you just there cause you couldn’t make your national team elsewhere… we not really too interested and we for sure will be very careful with financial investment…

    • I take your point Andreas and Chabeth. It really was a politically incorrect statement to make…especially if as it seems she is getting elite athlete funding. But she’s young and she should be properly coached in these types of issues. It’s probably a moot point anyway because I doubt she would actually be representing us anyway.

    • Remember that boxer Andreas Stueven? These things can go horribly wrong for true. We funded him and when he lost his first fight he started blaming the boxing board about his lack of preparation. Can’t remember the idiot’s name for a reason as he probably had no talent anyway. We really have to do due diligence when we undertake to pluck people with their hearts in other countries to represent TTO.

  20. High color? Actually, it is a lack of color

  21. Where is all this coming from??..

  22. sigh. oh baccanal yes.. things like this does make u wonder why donkeys running federations in this country..sigh

  23. Well, it looks like for Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Thema will be flying US colors and Marissa will be flying Canadian colors.

  24. Good they get a CUFF in dey face–

  25. I did not think it could get any hotter…

  26. So Anya could have a video and 3 some but represent TNT no problem but some people demonizing these girls.

  27. I honestly think Dick’s photo pledging her heart to Canada is the most offensive. Wtf?! Go ask the Canadian govt for money then.

  28. Just don’t take nude pictures, it always get leaked

  29. Ahahahahahhah in a country full or moral duplicity this is just another part of the satire.

  30. First thought that came to my mind when this whole debacle started. High colour with foreign accent vs darker hue with Trini accent

  31. Lasana Liburd get an interview with a rep from the TTGF… John Public needs to know the rationale behind their thinking… I mean… Sports Illustrated shows more skin than that!!

  32. ESPN has a whole edition of naked sports personalities yearly!!!! Really we talking about them pics in 2016!!! All the top athletes are in those maganizes come stop d circus please!!!!

  33. I can solve this very easily….”look…stop allyuh chupidness eh”

  34. I can muster no better response than a big long suck teeth.

  35. I can muster no better response than a big long suck teeth.