Home / Rio 2016 / TTGF blanks Thema; USA Olympic coach bemoans sabotage of T&T gymnast’s chances

TTGF blanks Thema; USA Olympic coach bemoans sabotage of T&T gymnast’s chances

United States coach John Geddert, who was the US women team’s head coach at the London 2012 Olympics, has accused the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) of standing in the way of Thema Williams’ Olympic preparations—in an explosive exchange of emails—after the local body refused to grant permission for the national gymnast to participate in a Level 10 US meet.

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)

Geddert, who trains Williams at his camp in Michigan and led the United States to gold at the last Olympics, warned the local gymnastics body that it was denying crucial “competitive experience” and “athlete motivation” to the Rio-bound gymnast.

The claims were made in a series of emails—dated between Thursday March 10 and Sunday March 13—which provides further acrimonious backdrop to a bizarre standoff between the TTGF and its own star athlete.

TTGF general secretary Elicia Peters-Charles, who responded to Geddert on behalf of the body’s president and COPOS Credit Union general manager David Marquez, confirmed to Wired868 that the emails were authentic but refused to comment on them.

At present, Williams, who is the TTGF’s representative for next month’s Rio 2016 Olympic Test Event, is before the body’s disciplinary committee—along with her alternate, Marisa Dick—after topless photos of the gymnasts were sent to executive members of the federation.

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)

Peters-Charles told Wired868, in a previous interview, that Williams breached the body’s code of conduct and suggested that the TTGF had the right to send another gymnast to Rio in her place, if necessary.

On Wednesday March 16, the TTGF must submit its final choice for the Olympic Test Event or face a fine of 1,000 Swiss francs or TT$6,641. Yet, after three weeks, the body is yet to decide on Williams’ fate.

Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) political leader and trade unionist, David Abdulah, served as a mediator last Wednesday—when the TTGF Disciplinary Committee met—and he revealed that the issue was referred to the TTGF’s council, which comprises of the body’s executive and committee members.

“There was just one meeting (with the TTGF) and the recommendation was made to refer the matter back to the council,” Abdulah told Wired868. “I have not heard anything since, so it is really for the council to say what they were doing.”

Does the fact that the matter was referred to the TTGF council, Wired868 enquired, suggest Williams was deemed to have been improperly sent to the Disciplinary Committee in the first place?

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federations officials (from right) Ricardo Lue Shue, Elicia Peters-Charles and David Marquez pose with Sport Minister Darryl Smith (second from right). (Courtesy SPORTT)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federations officials (from right) Ricardo Lue Shue, Elicia Peters-Charles and David Marquez pose with Sport Minister Darryl Smith (second from right).
(Courtesy SPORTT)

“I really do not want to speak out of turn,” said Abdulah. “If the (TTGF) council were to make an announcement, I could say something after that. The council has to act first.”

Four days ago, Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis told Wired868 that he was frustrated with the slow pace of the TTGF’s disciplinary process.

But even as Lewis urged the body to act swiftly in the interest of its Rio-bound athlete, leaked emails suggested that Williams’ coach, Geddert, and the TTGF were having a spectacular disagreement about what constituted the gymnast’s best interest.

In the emails, Peters-Charles claimed to be acting on behalf of Marquez. TTGF second vice president, Ricardo Lue Shue, who was president of the body from 2008 to 2015, is also believed to be an influential member of the body.

The rest of the TTGF executive includes first vice president Akil Wattley, treasurer Susanne Babooram and Lue Shue’s wife, Donna Lue Shue, who serves as assistant treasurer.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation second vice president and former president Ricardo Lue Shue (left) shakes hands with SPORTT Company official Anthony Creed. (Courtesy SPORTT)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation second vice president and former president Ricardo Lue Shue (left) shakes hands with SPORTT Company official Anthony Creed.
(Courtesy SPORTT)

Williams’ Olympic Games contract gives the TTGF the right to take the ultimate sanction against the athlete for performing at a meet that is not directly sanctioned by either the local body or the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).

Athletes Agreement (Section 1.3): “I understand that my participation in gymnastics competitions, exhibitions and/or events that are not sanctioned by the TTGF, or the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) may jeopardise my eligibility to participate in competitions sanctioned by the FIG.”

Peters-Charles, in one email, suggested that the Level 10 meet was not worthy of an international athlete.

“Having spoken to the President, while we agree that it is important for our elite athletes to compete to maintain readiness,” stated the email, “we are not in agreement with them being elite athletes yet entering any competition as Level 10 athletes.

“Unfortunately, we categorically say no to Thema entering this competition as a Level 10 athlete for the aforementioned reasons.”

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)

A TTGF executive member, who did not want to be identified, insisted Section 1.3 of the athletes’ contract meant that the gymnasts could only participate in FIG or TTGF events and not that they could compete in other events once sanctioned.

“If the federation should breach clause three,” said the source, “then Marisa should sue us and go to Rio. Because the contract would be null and void.”

Ironically, as Geddert pointed out, the TTGF allowed Williams to participate in four Level 10 competitions last year before the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championship in Glasgow.

Williams’ performance at that World Championship was a record for a Trinidad and Tobago gymnast, as she finished 59th overall and 18 places higher than national teammate and current alternate, Marisa Dick. And, in so doing, the former Tots and Tumblers gymnast qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Test Event.

“This is the same request that was honored last year where we participated in four Level 10 competitions,” stated Geddert, “as a part of the training plan that produced very satisfying results at the 2015 World Championships…

Photo: United States head coach John Geddert (right) hugs gymnast Gabrielle Douglas at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Geddert trains Trinidad and Tobago gymnast, Thema Williams, at his gym in Michigan. (Courtesy Desert News)
Photo: United States head coach John Geddert (right) hugs gymnast Gabrielle Douglas at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Geddert trains Trinidad and Tobago gymnast, Thema Williams, at his gym in Michigan.
(Courtesy Desert News)

“Your federation does not know my athlete nor what she needs in terms of the preparation process. It seems a better role would be to support our efforts rather than stand in the way.”

The TTGF source countered that Williams, as an international athlete, would be dropping a level to participate in the meet proposed by Geddert.

And what about the fact that she participated in four Level 10 meets last year?

“She had not qualified for the Olympic Test Event then,” said the TTGF council member. “She is an elite international athlete now.”

In fact, Williams competed in her first World Championship in 2011 and had been a senior elite international athlete for nearly five years.

Geddert, in his emails, argued that the proposed Level 10 meet was meant to fill a “gaping hole” in the TTGF’s own outlined preparation for the Olympic event while it was the most cost effective alternative available to her.

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)

And he urged Marquez and Peters-Charles to reconsider their stance in the interest of their own Trinidad and Tobago athlete.

“Our alternative at this point is do nothing for the next 5 weeks,” stated Geddert, who steered the United States to gold at the London 2012 Olympics. “Is nothing better than putting the performances in front of judges? (…) No coach wants to go untested for 5 weeks prior to a major event!

“(…) It seems the (TTGF) decision is based on some extreme misconception that Level 10 gymnastics is ‘unworthy’ of elite participation.

“This is misguided information when in fact a good majority of our top Level 10s in the USA would be considered elites in many countries of the world. Likewise many elites from around the world would be considered Level 10s in the USA…

“In Thema’s financial situation she can not afford to jump on a plane and attend an adequate number of FIG competitions around the world. She has limited financial support…

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams. (Courtesy Heritage Radio)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams.
(Courtesy Heritage Radio)

“Would it be nice to schedule meets abroad? Absolutely? But fiscal responsibility must prevail and thus JO competitions serve a very valuable purpose.”

Geddert claimed also that Williams would benefit mentally from competing alongside her teammates at the meet since: “even the most driven and dedicate athlete can tire of the same ole routine.”

Peters-Charles’ responses, in the emails forwarded by an anonymous source, were vague as to the body’s reason for denying Williams.

In one letter, the TTGF general secretary claimed unspecified lingering “concerns.”

“At this juncture, we do have some concerns about this request,” stated Peters-Charles, “and look forward to you replying to the email sent by (Gymnastics for All committee member) Sarah Lambert to you on the January 2016 report which you submitted, since the questions contained therein were never addressed by you.”

Geddert claimed to be mystified by the suggestion.

Photo: US women gymnastics team’s coach John Geddert celebrates with the rest of the team after the US won gold in the artistic gymnastics event of the London Olympic Games on 31 July 2012 at the 02 North Greenwich Arena in London. (Copyright AFP 2016/Thomas Coex)
Photo: US women gymnastics team’s coach John Geddert celebrates with the rest of the team after the US won gold in the artistic gymnastics event of the London Olympic Games on 31 July 2012 at the 02 North Greenwich Arena in London.
(Copyright AFP 2016/Thomas Coex)

“I am not sure what email you are referring to (from) Sarah Lambert,” stated Geddert. “I have checked my email and spam and do not find any emails from her (dating) January 2016 to present. I have been very diligent with my responses to the requests of the (TTGF).

“I fully understand that a professional response time is part of the responsibilities but have struggled getting the same courtesy from some members of the (TTGF). If you could have her send her questions I would be more than happy to answer them to the best of my ability.”

It is uncertain whether Peters-Charles ever sent the aforementioned questions to Geddert.

“The bottom line for considering this request (to participate at the Level 10 meet),” stated the Michigan-based coach, “should be ‘would competing in this competition in any way lessen Thema chances for success at the test event?’ The answer is NO.

“‘Would competing in this competition serve as an advantage for Thema?’ The answer is YES. Then why deny the opportunity?”

Photo: Well known Trinidad and Tobago personalities Nikki Crosby, Fay-Ann Lyons Alvarez, Penelope Spencer, Maylee Attin-Johnson, DJ Dani, Crystal Cunningham and Sophie KMW pose topless in support of Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams. (Copyright Gary Jordan)
Photo: Well known Trinidad and Tobago personalities Nikki Crosby, Fay-Ann Lyons Alvarez, Penelope Spencer, Maylee Attin-Johnson, DJ Dani, Crystal Cunningham and Sophie KMW pose topless in support of Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams.
(Copyright Gary Jordan)

However, the TTGF source insisted that the local body would not “make an exception” for Williams to participate at the event, since, in the official’s opinion, it would be unethical to do so and open the board up to legal action from Dick.

In one email, Peters-Charles warned Geddert and Williams that there may be consequences if they did not follow instructions.

“Note carefully if you should do otherwise,” stated the TTGF general secretary, “it come be deemed a fundamental breach of the athlete’s contract.”

Meanwhile, the deadline nears for the TTGF to announce its representative for the Olympic Test Event.

According to Abdulah, it has been five days since a recommendation was made for the matter to be moved from the Disciplinary Committee to the TTGF Council. He does not know what has happened since.

Photo: Marisa Dick, the Rio alternate for Thema Williams, was also referred to the TTGF's Disciplinary Committee for a topless photo. (Courtesy Kamara Heinz)
Photo: Marisa Dick, the Rio alternate for Thema Williams, was also referred to the TTGF’s Disciplinary Committee for a topless photo.
(Courtesy Kamara Heinz)

On Sunday night, the First Citizens Bank held its annual Sports Foundation Awards ceremony. The TTGF applied for the Jeffrey Stollmeyer Award in the Small Category but lost out to the Chess Association.

The gymnastics body’s nominated Dick, rather than Williams, for the 2015 Sportswoman of the Year award.

In its profile of the athlete, the TTGF stated that: “Along with teammate, Thema Williams, Dick earned a berth in the Olympic Games test event in Rio de Janeiro.”

In truth, there is only one berth available to Trinidad and Tobago for the Test Event.

By Wednesday, the gymnastics federation must make its choice.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick performs at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. Dick was born in Canada to a Trinidadian mother, Hannifer. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick performs at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.
Dick was born in Canada to a Trinidadian mother, Hannifer.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Leaked email from gymnastics coach John Geddert to the TTGF:

From: John Geddert

Sent: Fri, Mar 11, 2016 2:56 pm

Subject: Re: Thema Williams Request

Ms Peters-Charles and associates,

I am not sure what email you are referring to from Sarah Lambert. I have checked my email and spam and do not find any emails from her dates January 2016 to present.

I have been very diligent with my responses to the requests of the TTO. I fully understand that a professional response time is part of the responsibilities but have struggled getting the same courtesy from some members of the TTO.

If you could have her send her questions I would be more than happy to answer them to the best of my ability.
In regards to your “categorical” no to the request to provide my athlete with a well deserved and needed competitive experience, I would ask that the TTO reconsider.

It seems the decision is based on some extreme misconception that Level 10 gymnastics is “unworthy” of elite participation.

Photo: United States gymnastics coach John Geddert.
Photo: United States gymnastics coach John Geddert.

This is misguided information when in fact a good majority of our top Level 10s in the USA would be considered elites in many countries of the world. Likewise many elites from around the world would be considered Level 10s in the USA.

The talent pool is strong and provides worthy opponents for aspiring and growing elites. Many USA elites use the JO system interchangeably as a way of providing experience via convenient and cost effective opportunities.

In Thema’s financial situation she can not afford to jump on a plane and attend an adequate number of FIG competitions around the world. She has limited financial support and her current tuition and travel bill at Twistars USA is over $6,000.

Would it be nice to schedule meets abroad? Absolutely? But fiscal responsibility must prevail and thus JO competitions serve a very valuable purpose.

This is the same request that was honored last year where we participated in 4 Level 10 competitions as a part of the training plan that produced very satisfying results at the 2015 World Championships. It would seem that my plan for Thema would be considered a priority here.

Your federation does not know my athlete nor what she needs in terms of the preparation process. It seems a better role would be to support our efforts rather than stand in the way. Our alternative at this point is do nothing for the next 5 weeks.

Is nothing better than putting the performances in front of judges? Few could present a case that it is. No coach wants to go untested for 5 weeks prior to a major event!

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

Your proposed competitive schedule (the one I repeatedly asked for clarification and information long before anything was officially disclosed) left a gaping hole in a strategic training plan (From WOGA/GymNix to the Test Event).

You did not provide any options the fill that gap and therefore we chose the convenience and cost effective local competition.

Additionally in terms of athlete motivation, even the most driven and dedicate athlete can tire of the same ole routine. FIG competitions for Thema were basically her traveling by herself, competing alone without the support of her teammates.

She trains with a team and deserves the opportunity to compete with her training partners. She has earned the right to compete as part of a team, to contribute to a team accomplishment.

This can be stimulating for an athlete. It can add fuel to the motivational fire.

Obviously this is not a major goal, as we must keep our eye on the prize (The Test Event and Olympic Qualifications), but it certainly is worthy of mentioning.

The bottom line for considering this request should be “would competing in this competition in any way lessen Thema chances for success at the test event?” The answer is NO.

“Would competing in this competition serve as an advantage for Thema?” The answer is Yes.

Then why deny the opportunity?

Photo: Sport Minister Darryl Smith (centre) meets with TTGF president David Marquez and his executive committee. (Courtesy SPORTT)
Photo: Sport Minister Darryl Smith (centre) meets with TTGF president David Marquez and his executive committee.
(Courtesy SPORTT)

If we had intended on performing lesser routines then there might be a case for this competition not serving any purpose. We fully intend on competing the same routines that she will use over the next few months. Now is the time to start ramping up.

Furthermore it seems contradictory to require participation in you National Championships, which I believe are judged under Level 10 JO Rules, where the only benefit would be self serving for the TTO. In this case the benefit is for the athlete.

I am not saying that participation in the national event is not important. I believe all national team athletes should give back to the sport that has provided them with such great opportunities but it seems a strange placement of priorities in this case.

I also understand the importance of FIG competitions. In this situation we are talking about providing the best opportunity with serious consideration given the to timing of the event, the cost factors involved, and how much the competition would impact current training (we would rather not take a week out of the gym).

If an FIG event was cost effective, and convenient we would certainly have taken that option. I ask for you to reconsider this denial of my request.

John Geddert

Twistars USA Gymnastics Club

2012 USA Olympic Team Head Coach

2011 USA World Team Head Coach

 

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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173 comments

  1. What led to this change of heart i wonder?

  2. Congrats to Thema. Now the entire TTGF board should resign for their ineptness and for bringing the sport to disrepute.

  3. Fact is with this face the TTGF has brought a lot of shame onto the sports fraternity and it is people like that in the various different NF’s that have the people in the country believe that sports is run by a bunch of ignorant and out of place dinosaurs. ..

  4. Yay! finally some sense prevails

  5. There is still work to be done. …

  6. Oh boy, Lasana as we’d say in Germany: That was a birth in breach position. ..

  7. So why then prevent her from the pre Olympic tournament? ?

  8. go represent another country and forget TRINIDAD

  9. Committee seems to be overreacting, underexposed and ignorant. If they’re conniving such puerile justification for depriving TT of our best representative based on a few suggestive (neither lewd, crude nor illegal) pics then a big red flag is raising on policy decisions therein. Cut their funding and start the investigation. Poor judgement call with ugly tones. Somebody was toting against Thelma? Or is another gymnast pulling their strings to get the opportunity to rep us? I don’t understand this. Disappointing indeed! Big fail TTGF!

  10. Well thats the price you pay for exposing your boobs.

  11. Sorry for Thelma. Many of our young girls would have been inspired by her on the big stage. Hypocrisy of our culture keeps us 3rd world.

  12. You guys, it has nothing to do with the photos. They want to send Marisa Dick

  13. SHAME SHAME SHAME ON THOSE WHO ARE STOPPING THIS YOUNG WOMAN …. the person who started this is 100% more disgraceful than those pictures…. you should be shame !!!! She has every right to compete. .. this is so unfare… ..we all make silly mistakes don’t punish her in this way…. please reconsider… !!

  14. Girl is covering up most of her chest with her arms ya seeing literally NUTTEN you actually seeing more shape when she suit-up! dumbasses SMH wow “topless” hehehehe What; youall was lookin for attention? Yes she should move and represent the States. Cus these ppl too stinkin ungrateful.

  15. This is total madness what is our next step of action to have them change this crazy decision

  16. Ah not hearing anything about the Dick girl…. Someone enlightened me please

  17. And the few on this committee look like they haven’t lifted a weight, or exercised a day in their life…. I think this is rubbish but they don’t seem to care about what the public has to say or how we feel about them sabotaging an incredibly gifted gymnast such as Thema Williams!

  18. Simple
    Go represent the USA so TTGA can only address you as Trinidad-Born. ……

  19. I am at a loss to understand how these “dinosaurs” could be running any organisation in T&T.

  20. She should represent the USA and win three or four medals hope she shows all yuh she ass and tells you all to kiss it . You fools carnival time women expose more thanthat and get on as if they in their bedroom and you say nothing some of you all who against this girl are on the street carnival days getting on like whores .

  21. HOPE SHE IS ABLE TO REPRESENT THE USA OR SOME OTHER NATION WHO WOULD EMBRACE HER

  22. Michelle Telfer-Frankland is the march on for sure on Saturday to support Thema?

  23. This is appalling! So we won’t be seending our best gymnasts! It sounds like the TTGC is operating like the WICB!

  24. Saying that a Level 10 competition is “lesser competition” is not being genuine with the truth. in the USA, Level 10 events are not restricted to any routines or skills. the JO (Junior Olympic) programmes are legit “Plan B” events where athletes like Thema —AND Dick — can compete and have their routines judged. THAT is why these competitions are important.
    It’s not simply hey…Thema sweatin against some small fry—she is going to the meets that she can AFFORD to attend.
    The issue between the lines there are that the TTGF has NOT secured funding for any preparation for Thema and the MoS/SporTT is not mentioned so one can only assume that they have either not been approached for funds or have not released any funds to the athlete sufficient to participate at higher level competition.
    Is that a failure on the part of the TTGF? In my opinion, YES—Thema’s coaches have evaluated the situation and have submitted a competition preparation programme that they can afford. Where is the TTGF’s alternative tournament schedule?

    • Andre Bapiste who’s opinions in sport I think are more than credible has questioned why an A class horse wants to run in a G class race though. Is there more to this than we really know?

    • That is not a fair comparison nor is it cognizant of the financial constraints involved in competing in an “A class race”. It is the SAME level competition in which she competed ahead of WAG in Glasgow last year.

    • that’s the thing Alva: Thema’s SKILL level will be on par with the Elites, however, her MONEY level ain’t.
      and the TTGF ain’t saying WHY Thema’s competition schedule was not properly filled by THEM with suitable Elite level competitions.
      However, the fact is that a Level 10 contest is not restricted—the athletes can perform ANY skills. Gymnastics is not like a race. Thema will not be going “against” anyone except her own self. Her routines will be judged on each skill performed. Her placing at those events will be irrelevant—she is looking at what the judges score he routines. These are the SAME judges who will adjudicate at Elite level events, and the point needs to be made that Thema will be evaluating the SCORES…not the PLACEMENT at the end of these contests.

    • On such a headline grabbing issue I think the Minister needs to assert himself here. It’s either we serious about producing elite world class athletes who have a great potential for bringing home gold or not. #ttgfsux

    • yeah. right now i’m looking at FIG elite events and trying to come up with a shell budget for Thema to have attended those and still get the same level of exposure…and it looks like way more than the MYSA would have dished out to her under the Elite Athlete Funding Programme.
      seems like the TTGF wanted Moët & Chandon on a mauby budget— and was hoping someone else paid the bill.

  25. This is a real shame….like this all started over a picture….taken one year ago….and was only only for one day…..Someone is gunning for Ms Williams hard…or does she have like bad karma or something….Ps , does anyone also get the impression that outsides forces are not only pushing Ms Dick , perhaps undersevedly….#pardonthepun…..over Ms Williams…..and also, are people trying to turn these two girls against each other

    • I wonder why Ms Dick, or whoever, wants her to represent T&T so bad! If she is so good, why didn’t she try for the Canadian team? Or did she??? But it is disgusting to sabotage our legitimate representative for a ‘foreigner at heart.’

  26. Think looooong and haaaaard before you act!!!
    Now you are the victim of ur actions!!!
    I feel sorry for her cause she lacked the wisdom of a young “black” woman to first represent urself as a queen in a racist world.
    THATS REALITY!!!
    DONT GIVE ANYONE AMUNITION TO TAKE U OUT…
    its too late i guess!!!
    Knw ur history
    Knw thyself
    Act as such….a queen!!!

  27. Someone right on that board is the one who release that photo… They stopping at nothing to replace her with that dick

  28. Selene Kelly Lizzy why are they fighter her down so???

  29. Stupidity prevails in T&T sports. Not surprised. More disappointing is the TTOC and the MOS sitting on the sidelines saying they have no power to intervene. What a bunch of nonsense! They could push the envelope and influence from behind the scenes without having to expose TTGF incompetence publicly.

  30. Well yes this backward decision doesn’t only affect Thema but Trinidad on the whole, just as Keshon Walcot broke ground at the olympics in the Javelin field, same possibility exist with Thema in gymnastics and these fools wanna spoil that….#shame

  31. Doesn’t the general public have a say of some sort as to who should and should not represent us? At the end of the day isn’t she representing the country and not thev

  32. Oh my these people in high places the judges the jury’s and those that put you to death just did that to that young lady ms Thelma my heart goes out to her SAD

  33. Not a word from the Minister of Sport . If she was from a wealthy family hell yeah , land of the hypocrites !

  34. guess its ok when americans do it -_-

  35. Exactly, who is in the defence of the athletes except us in this forum?

  36. What does the TTOC have to say ???

  37. You know what is really making this hard is the hard work that she has put through and even if when they come to their senses she will have already have like a ton of bricks on her shoulder going into the competition. I really hope and pray that she has a very strong will and only put God in her thoughts to wipe away all the negativity.

    • You know what is making this hard is the hypocrisy that is Trinidad and Tobago. Yest carnival and all its nakedness is still branded as the greatest show on earth. Hypocrites, every last one.

  38. These people so spiteful and evil. Put them in the same boat with WICB and drop them in the middle of the ocean with only spoons as paddles

  39. I just hope the deceitful, hypocritical mothers who took issue with those photos now your daughters may have the opportunity to represent tnt at the Olympics that they can deliver. And Thema, defect to the USA team you may be appreciated more there.

    • And I hope they are never allowed to partake in carnival wearing strings, feathers and beads! But that’s the face of jealousy for you. Small minded Trinidadians.

    • I have no doubt it is someone on the board itself that released the photo under a fake name…

      It is quite clear that they favor dick and prefer her to Thema, the one that really qualified for this opportunity.,.

  40. Wow. Thema is being sabotaged and pushed out.

    Thema qualified fair and square per the original rules. But gymnastics is never fair, and the best athlete isn’t always the favourite athlete. And in gymnastics, rules and policies change to accommodate hidden agendas.

    Thema and her coach are conducting themselves respectfully and responsibly. It’s the TTGF that is behaving disgracefully.

  41. name the persons who made that decision?

  42. Bunch of self appointed hypocrites. Heinz , you think you’re a bitch? Wait till you meet a lady called. Karma

  43. The BLACK and WHITE of gymnastics courtesy TTGF. colonialism much?

  44. Lasana Liburd I didn’t quite get this part in the article …..
    “If the federation should breach clause three,” said the source, “then Marisa should sue us and go to Rio. Because the contract would be null and void.”

    Are they saying that if they sent Thema to compete at the US event they would be sued by Marisa and then they would have to send her to Rio? I’m a little lost. Is this one of the reasons they justifying not acceding to the coach’s request?