Home / Rio 2016 / TTGF official: I didn’t kill nobody! Wired868 reveals email that led to Dick call-up for Thema

TTGF official: I didn’t kill nobody! Wired868 reveals email that led to Dick call-up for Thema

Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick will fly to Brazil tomorrow morning and represent her country on the same day, as the local gymnastics furore apparently came to a stunning conclusion today.

Dick, who was the alternate athlete for the 2016 Rio Olympic Test event, replaces Thema Williams, who, according to the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF), allegedly failed to recover from a niggling ankle injury.

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)

However, Williams’ camp has disputed any suggestion that the former Tots and Tumblers gymnast and St Joseph’s Convent (Port of Spain) student is injured. And they criticised the TTGF for allegedly failing to inform either Williams or her coach, John Geddert, that they were striking her off the list to compete at the event on April 17.

Williams was apparently informed by her mother, Helen Adams, that she would not compete at the Olympic qualifier, after the TTGF made a public statement this morning.

The TTGF claimed that the decision was made based on a report by Geddert.

“Early this morning, The Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation made an emergency decision to pull Ms Thema Williams from the Test event in Rio due to an injury,” stated the TTGF. “Williams will be replaced by alternate Marisa Dick, effective immediately. According to coach John Geddert: ‘Thema has been nursing an injured ankle and has limited all pounding and landings for over the past week’.

“He went on to state that unfortunately she fell six times out of three events on podium training and has since showed no signs of recovery.

“We are sincerely concerned for her health and cannot risk further injury.”

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

A gymnastics official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed that Geddert revealed the former Tots and Tumblers athlete and St Joseph’s Convent (Port of Spain) student had tried unsuccessfully to shake of an injury.

“(Geddert) sent three reports and the last was the most glaring one,” said the official. “It made mention that she had an injury for the last week and he advised her to withdraw (from the Olympic event). And she told him she would be okay.

“But she got to Rio and it got progressively worse. She fell six times in three events yesterday.”

However, Geddert, who is the United States gymnastics coach and led his nation to gold at the London 2012 Olympics, apparently did not recommend that Williams be withdrawn.

“He said he would train her lightly today and hope for the best tomorrow,” said the official. “He made examples from other federations faced with similar situations… He wanted to swing her through.”

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. Geddert coaches Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams in Michigan. (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.
Geddert coaches Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams in Michigan.
(Copyright AFP 2016/Thomas Coex)

The TTGF decided to send a presumably fully fit Dick instead, even though the Canada-born gymnast will apparently arrive in Rio at 9.30 am on April 17 before participating at 4.30 pm on the same day.

However, Williams’ team disputed claims that their athlete is injured.

“Thema had a bad day at podium training yesterday (and) John Geddert did a report and sent it to members of TTGF,” said the source. “(…) Thema had a minor issue with landing tumbles—but got a clean bill of health from a Brazilian doctor this morning.

“She is fully fit.”

Wired868 was sent what appeared to be the email from Geddert to the TTGF.

On day three, the message from Geddert’s email address read: “Podium was a disaster with 6 falls on 3 events. She has been dealing with a sore ankle to the point that I asked her to withdraw last week.

“She assured me she can do this. We have been limiting all pounding and landings yet today she showed little signs of being able to perform well. We will rest tomorrow and rely on heart.”

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

The deadline for Williams to protest the TTGF’s decision to remove her was given at 4 pm (5 pm Rio time) and it passed without any legal manoeuvring. However, Wired868 was informed that her legal team is still working on the matter.

Williams is represented by attorney Keith Scotland, who has also consulted with Canada-based attorney Emir Crowne on the matter.

Already, the social media has exploded over the issue with general fury directed towards the local gymnastics body, although Dick also received support by several commentators who felt she was more than good enough to represent Trinidad and Tobago.

Local media personality, Sophie Wight, said that she phoned TTGF assistant treasurer Donna Lee Shue to share her outrage.

“I told her that ‘I want you to know how disgusted hundreds of us are’,” said Wight.

Lue Shue, whose husband Ricardo Lue Shue is the TTGF’s second vice-president and will act as Dick’s coach in Brazil, allegedly dismissed her complaint.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation second vice president and former president Ricardo Lue Shue (left) shakes hands with SPORTT Company official Anthony Creed. Lue Shue will act as Marisa Dick's coach in Brazil. (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.
Lue Shue will act as Marisa Dick’s coach in Brazil.
(Courtesy SPORTT)

“She said: ‘I don’t care, I didn’t kill nobody’,” Wight told Wired868. “And then she hung up on me.”

The Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation comprises of president David Marquez, general secretary Elicia Peters-Charles, first vice president Akil Wattley, second vice president, Ricardo Lue Shue—who was president of the body from 2008 to 2015 and will serve as Dick’s coach in Brazil—treasurer Susanne Babooram and Lue Shue’s wife, Donna Lue Shue, who serves as assistant treasurer.

Williams has not publicly commented on the furore so far.

Her last post on her Twitter page was made yesterday and it read: “Who Jah bless, no man curse.”

The page was decorated with a black backdrop, which included the words “Jah put me here” printed in bold white letters.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago international gymnast Thema Williams. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago international gymnast Thema Williams.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Editor’s Note: Click HERE for more background information on Thema Williams’ behind-the-scenes battle for Rio.

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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62 comments

  1. Agree with you Justin Phelps. The coach should have been more careful with his words, especially with knowing TTGF were looking for an excuse to replace Thema with Marisa.

  2. Dat is ah real DICK move by TTGF….

  3. Coach Geddert should be able to clear this up …..did he or didn’t he report her as being injured?

  4. Seems to me somebody, probably somebody wîth an ax to grind or somebody in authority has a problem with this little black girl. Can’ t see any other reason for all this negativity directed at her.

  5. These people get what they looking for .

  6. My God every thing in Trinidadhas to be based on nepotism. No wonder we have trouble excelling at endeavours

  7. The truth will eventually come out.

  8. The government should withdraw taxes payers money from the Canadian…

  9. Another he say she say report?

  10. TTGF Karma is a bitch I hope you all remember that. You all doing Thelma what you all want.
    WHO GOD BLESS NO MAN CURSE. Trinidad and Tobago loves and support you.

  11. I am wondering whether TTGF is always this efficient . Thema can’t compete. Call Dick, make sure she is mentally prepared, book tickets for her and Lue Sue, hotel accommodation etc etc etc.

  12. Not a real country…..Them really good yes.

  13. Bullshit they were just keeping people quiet until now. That was always their plan.
    Thema the Lord will see this through

  14. That should cause the TTGF to reverse its foolishness.

  15. Lord this still on this child case. It’s one thing after the next . Who they think they fooling

  16. Bullshit. …..this was their plan from day one

  17. In the case of ambivalence, the TTGF should have seek clarification after which the coach, Thema and representatives of TTGF should have decided next steps. It seems that slight door opening is what TTGF was awaiting hence the haste to replace Thema without further clarification of the ‘bizarre letter’.

  18. It was a bizarre email from the coach considering the tension between the two parties to begin with. That’s true.
    Thema’s side point out that TTGF rushed to axe Thema without allowing natural justice and hearing from athlete, clarifying from coach or getting doctor’s verdict.
    TTGF’s side is: we had to make quick decision (even if it robbed athlete of her Olympic dream).

  19. Got the first one- thank you very much. Isn’t the issue here beginning with the ambivalence of the coach?

  20. Some folks just make you feel like pelting them with big stone inno….

  21. Hopefully Thema and her coach were informed before anybody else.

  22. This is an amazing place.Once you can get away with it.

  23. Seems like they had their plan all along

  24. THIS is why most of our promising junior athletes don’t progress further – because their abilities mean nothing if they don’t kiss the right posterior, steupes!

    • Are you all not gettin it? Thema photo was leaked only to expose Marisa’s picture which was far worse! Thema camp responsible for these things. Carla Roseau wrote an article stating that Marisa have an injury only to distract the attention from Thema injury! Marisa is the victim with NO support!!!

  25. “Day 3” (in reference to the email from Geddert’s email address where he says he asked her to withdraw)… Is yesterday?

  26. I was somehow kinda expecting something was going to go down with this situation

  27. ..Only the elite could represent the elite..

  28. Still on their high horses? Remind me what/who are they volunteering for? Themselves?

  29. Well dreams don’t win events eh.

  30. You just killed her dream that’s all.

  31. If the coach asked her to withdraw that says a lot I think…

    • Anyone can find vidoe of good or bad performances.

      That video of Thema is from HNI in February where she scored 11.5 on floor.

      Here is Marisa at Gymnix in March where she scored 11.575 on floor.

      https://www.facebook.com/171920412824114/videos/1296089747073836/

      What is Frances Dow’s role with the TTGF? Does she travel with Marisa to attend her competitions? What about Thema’s?

      Did anyone really not see this coming? All gymnasts have some sort of injury at any given time. It’s the nature of the sport. But if their physician clears them to compete, they compete.

  32. So I’m gathering you think the coach is embellishing the injury Lasana Liburd?