Home / Rio 2016 / Marisa Dick or nothing: TTGF backs TTOC into corner; Lewis explains remaining options

Marisa Dick or nothing: TTGF backs TTOC into corner; Lewis explains remaining options

The Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) will be represented at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games by Marisa Dick. Or by nobody.

The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) and the local gymnastics body confirmed to Wired868 today that, based on information from the International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG), only one athlete is now allowed to represent the two island republic in Brazil.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick competes on the floor exercise in the women's artistic gymnastics team event at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada on 12 July 2015. (Copyright AFP 2016/Kevin Van Paassen)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick competes on the floor exercise in the women’s artistic gymnastics team event at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada on 12 July 2015.
(Copyright AFP 2016/Kevin Van Paassen)

And it is not 20 year old Thema Williams, who left her Diego Martin home two years ago and migrated to Michigan, United States where she snubbed a sport scholarship to dedicate her life to getting to Rio.

On Saturday morning, on the eve of the Rio Test event on April 17, TTGF president David Marquez informed the FIG that Williams’ name was to replaced with Dick’s on the grounds of injury.

Marquez’s decision, which supposedly was a unanimous one by the gymnastics board, was taken without consultation with Williams, head of delegation and physiotherapist Nicole Fuentes, coach John Geddert or a medical certificate.

It could yet go down as one of the most controversial moments in Trinidad and Tobago’s sporting history and certainly in gymnastics.

The TTGF comprises of president 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 served as Dick’s coach in Rio—treasurer Susanne Babooram and Lue Shue’s wife, Donna Lue Shue, who serves as assistant treasurer.

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)

A tweet by TTOC president Brian Lewis, shortly after Dick wrapped up the straightforward qualification process, suggested that there might be a glimmer of hope for Williams.

“As long as people understand its @TTOlympic that has the final say in respect of #TeamTTO selection for the Olympic Games,” tweeted Lewis. “Plain talk.”

The relationship between the TTOC and the TTGF has been strained for months.

When the local gymnastics body sent Williams to its disciplinary committee for a topless photo, on 23 February, and suggested she might pay the ultimate price for the supposed indiscretion, Lewis publicly pointed out that Williams—and not Dick—was the chosen athlete for the Rio Test event.

The TTGF’s response was bullish.

“Brian Lewis cannot say that (Williams) has to go,” said a TTGF member then, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “He cannot tell the Federation who can go to the Olympics.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis (left) with a delegate at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. (Courtesy TTOC)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis (left) with a delegate at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.
(Courtesy TTOC)

This morning, Lewis pointed to Clause 27.3 of the Olympic charter, which suggested otherwise:

“The NOCs have the exclusive authority for the representation of their respective countries at the Olympic Games and at the regional, continental or world multi-sports competitions patronised by the IOC…”

The TTOC president explained that it would not be unprecedented for the local body to overrule a National Sporting Organisation (NSO), although they traditionally always strive for a collaborative approach.

“We have the right to designate and identify players,” Lewis told Wired868. “While we respect the autonomy of the respective sporting association, we have our own due diligence.

“This is the first time gymnastics has reached this far and they will not be accustomed to what the Olympic Committee can do in this process.

“They may not be unaware of rule 27 but it is an unambiguous rule in terms of what we can do. There is no argument there as far as we are concerned.”

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

The gymnastics board might be many things. But, as the events of the past six months suggest, the TTGF is neither naive or uninformed.

As the social media buzzed about what Lewis’ tweet might mean to the unfolding drama, the gymnastics board put a call through to the FIG at about 11 pm last night, just to confirm what its members already knew.

It would have been roughly 5 am in Lausanne, Switzerland—where the FIG is headquartered—but, according to the gymnastics insider, the TTGF got the answer it was looking for.

“The spot is Marisa’s,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “It is an individual spot. When you do the Test event and you get through, that spot remains in your name.

“If you get sick and cannot take that spot, you cannot transfer it. That spot then goes to a reserve.”

And then came the clincher. The TTGF, according to the source, was not at all blindsided by Lewis’ tweet and had long been aware of the powers granted to the TTOC by the Olympic charter.

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)

“We recognise that the TTOC has the final say on whether gymnastics will compete in the Olympic Games,” said the source. “It is out of the Federation’s hands completely. It is up to the TTOC to decide.

“I expect that the TTGF will do their part (in the selection process) and participate fully (with the TTOC).”

The Trinidad and Tobago gymnastics fraternity has never qualified for the Olympics before. It has done so now.

But it will be the TTOC or, more accurately, the body’s games management committee of Annette Knott, Ian Hypolite, Diane Henderson and Dr Terry Ali, who will have to figuratively look the 18 year old Dick in the eye and say that they prefer to send nobody to the Olympics than to send her.

Arguably, the TTGF has engineered a lose-lose position for the TTOC. The National Olympic Committee (NOC) must either send Dick to Rio or stop history in the making for gymnastics.

Once more, the momentous decision looks likely to be played out with no meaningful input from Sport Minister Darryl Smith.

Photo: Sport Minister Darryl Smith (centre) meets with TTGF president David Marquez and his executive committee in 2015. (Courtesy Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs)
Photo: Sport Minister Darryl Smith (centre) meets with TTGF president David Marquez and his executive committee in 2015.
(Courtesy Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs)

Smith, who has steadfastly refused to attempt moral persuasion, told I95.5FM today that he will not stop State funding to the gymnastics body, despite a petition asking him to do so in response to the TTGF’s machinations.

“I cannot do that,” said Smith, in a rare interview on the subject, “we have a funding policy which I am guided by…”

Lewis and the TTOC, which is legally advised by Elton Prescott SC, had considered—at least theoretically—all possible scenarios, including the option of refusing to send a gymnast to Rio.

Whether Lewis ever thought it would come to that—or considered this option as a mere bluff—is another story.

“We have sent back selections (from NSOs) in the past on the basis that it didn’t meet the agreed criteria,” said Lewis, “which might have been beep test (fitness) scores or what have you…

“There may be reasons why a NOC may not take up a place if it feels the sporting body isn’t properly prepared and so on.”

It might be a stretch to question Dick’s fitness or suggest that she is not properly prepared for international competition.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick performs at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick performs at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Lewis gave some more insight into the duty of his games management committee.

“When the games management committee meets, there will be a particular checklist they will go through,” Lewis told Wired868. “They will check things like athlete eligibility, age requirements, the qualification standard established by FIG…

“The process under which an alternate could change…”

If Marquez’s decision at 12.27 am on Saturday April 16 is deemed to be unfair to Williams, then Dick could logically be ruled to have benefited from an act of injustice.

It would mean the process that led to Dick’s Olympic qualification is flawed. And, as a result, the TTOC could deny her the chance to further reap the rewards of it.

Williams’ attorney, Keith Scotland, has hinted at legal action against the TTGF for denying his client the chance to perform.

Scotland described the TTGF’s decision as: “irrational, illegal and null and void.”

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)

If Williams decides to stand up for herself against the gymnastics body’s perceived unjust act, it could put further pressure on the TTOC and open them up to legal action if they endorse Dick.

If the TTOC does not select Dick, there is the chance that either Dick or the TTGF could sue on the grounds that, as Lewis conceded: “Marisa Dick now has a legitimate expectation of performing at the Rio Olympics.”

Lewis said, although the TTOC can only select one athlete for Rio, the local Olympic body does not now become a rubber stamp.

“All that changes is the option that the TTOC will have, that’s all,” said the TTOC president. “What does not change is the right and duty of the TTOC under rule 27.”

Once the FIG officially informs the TTOC of its quota for the Rio Olympics, the local body will have two weeks to decide whether or not to use its lone spot.

It will be Dick or nothing.

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)

At 11.30 pm on Tuesday April 19, Williams returns from Rio and lands at the Piarco International Airport.

She will not return to Rio in August for the Olympic Games.

Yesterday, in her first public statement since she was unceremoniously replaced by Dick, Williams, a budding art student, painted a dreadlocked man smoking with the words: “Love is destructive.”

Beneath, she wrote: “What’s bad for my heart is good for my art. I’ll be alright.”

There was an Instagram photo too of the former St Joseph’s Convent (Port of Spain) student at Rio’s famous statue of Christ the Redemer with a Trinidad and Tobago flag.

Photo: Thema Williams shares some art on Sunday 17 April 2016. (Courtesy Thema Williams)
Photo: Thema Williams shares some art on Sunday 17 April 2016.
(Courtesy Thema Williams)

At the top of Williams’ Twitter page, she had pinned another quote: “Who Jah Bless, no man curse.”

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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  1. There are no remaining options. We should not be represented at Rio. End of story. Dick cannot make the Canadian team. She is an opportunist. My tax dollars must not be used to support a CANADIAN who now realizes she could piggy back to Rio because her mother was born in Trinidad.

  2. What is the suprise? Its the same kind of thinking that gave us sec 34,2,000,000,000 in ontracts for sis,70 houses for media workers,doctors freed of malpracti e,pumkin and cucumber houses etc. Sweet T. T.!!lol

  3. We need to get rid of these nasty people, them and the west indies cricket board, they are a disgrace

  4. This country would probably be able to win GOLD for the mental gymnastics I am witnessing.

  5. I think the public will vote NOTHING.

    Too many emotions, and if Ms. Dick is sent to the Olympics, then it reaffirms that corrupt people, using corrupt practices will always prevail.

    It’s time that someone, some organization, take a stand and chart a new frontier for Trinidad and Tobago. Do it RIGHT or don’t do it at all.

  6. Thema will always be our true champion! She was treated unfairly but she still manages to display true sportsmanship, putting a smile on her face and maintaining her dignity. We love you, Thema!

  7. TTOC-Trinidad would Honestly prefer NO representation at this Olympics please. It is not Dicks place to be, it was STOLEN from Thema.

  8. Send her back Canada she doesn’t want to represent T&T anyway #teamthema

  9. Thema Williams or nothing I done talk Dick go take a damn hike

  10. The Olympic movement is about more than sport. It is about fairness and sportsmanship. Sadly, Ms. Dick and her handlers/supporters have displayed neither. Even if Thema can’t compete I believe she should be allowed to travel with the TT Team and even carry our flag at the Opening Ceremony!

  11. I will never support that Dick girl and if she medal which is a gigantic if i will never celebrate that medal they is no way any true Trini could feel that joy like how we felt with keshawn Wolcott no way ! Please Thema or nobody Party Done!

  12. Dey can keep dey damn dick, but Thema is ours!

  13. Gold is not worth what TTGF did. The sport is not just about a medal but about clean and fair sportsmanship. Dick’s representation isn’t valid. Send Thema or send no one.

  14. Nothing No one Nobody! Thema is back home. Send Dick where her heart is let her represent them if they want her

    • That’s just it she did not make the Canada team that’s why she want to fake begin a Trini please !the woman done care about this country and those wicked board members I wonder how much money they get ? The people were bend on messing upThema if Thema cannot represent us neither should wana be Trini Dick represent fast and out of place

  15. Thema, my heart hurts for you but keep the faith and know God is always just!

  16. O my o my they think because she “light skinned ” she’d be a better look for T & T

  17. I have read a lot of comments about the injustice meted out to Thema Williams. The fact is the damage is already done and presumably nothing can be done in that regard, however it should be noted that MARQUEZ, the main offender in this debacle , along with his entire executive have to be removed from office. Mr Scotland, Thema’s representative, should be capable of taking care of the legal aspect of this…what is interesting though, is that MARQUEZ broke every Rule of his Federation’s Constitution…under COUNCIL Article (o) to elect an Hon. Medical Officer who shall be the advisor to the Federation in matters of medical opinion appertaining to the Federation only…..under (t) the Federation must stand for fairness, preservation of dignity and opportunity for all of its members. There are other clauses which say that such decisions should be made by 60% of its Council…The AUTOCRATIC MARQUEZ contravened the above rules of his organization’s Constitution which is the Bible of ALL organizations. It is therefore necessary that the TTGF’s executive be given similar treatment which was given to Thema…we should ALL push to get them out of office, we should not rest until that is accomplished….No free trips for them to the Olympics in August.

  18. It’s quite clear that all the talk in the world not going to get them to say Boo! If they wanted to be exonerated, they could show the ticket purchase date/time. It wouldn’t completely excuse them but they would at least be able to say ‘told you so’. They won’t because they can’t. Shame won’t do anything because they are absolutely shameless. The minister (and I spell that with a lower-case ‘m’) won’t do anything because of a lack of…fill in the space… The ONLY persons that can stick it to them is the TTOC. ALL our efforts should be directed to them. Mr. Lewis is already making the right noises; he needs to be supported to maintain that stance.


  20. Linda no one has a problem with Dick here… The problem is the criteria for making a quick decision to replace Thema and the fact that it was deliciously mastermind to create an excuse to eliminate Thema’s dream.
    I realize out of all the stakeholders Thema has the most to lose here, however she has so gallantly shown she is forever a champion for what makes a champion is perseverance and that positive spirit to wish and hope for the best in succeeding.
    Imagine TTGF never considered their approach, their leadership, their maturity and experience in a situation like this which let’s you know the lines people cross to get what they want….

    • Jason, not sure if there’s another Linda here but if it’s me I never thought Dick was a problem. I’m just playing with words.

      Dick is also being unfairly treated I think and the decision to pull Thema was absolutely unacceptable. My stance.

  21. It s NUTTIN for me den …. let dick go bk canada!!!!!

  22. Representing us with her heart in her native land? Thema or nothing!

  23. Coach’s comment that they will rest and try again tomorrow with heart, shows that he had no desire or thought to replace Thema. Also not having a medical opinion to support the TTGF decision means their own protocols were not followed. Allowing Dick to replace Thema at the games would set a remarkably dangerous precedent. The logical, sad decision to be made here is for us to Send no one.

  24. Oh ho!! Is so! They must be MAD!! Thema will represent Trinidad & Tobago in Rio 2016. Get rid of these idiots pronto. Their decision was invalid. It was not a unanimous vote.

  25. “Dick was en route to Brazil, making a journey of some 11,000 kilometres. She caught a ride from Fort McMurray to Edmonton at 9 p.m. Friday night, jumped on a 7 a.m. Saturday flight to Houston, then on to Rio. She walked off the plane in Brazil at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, was in the gym five hours later, and qualified 55th overall with scores of 13.1466 (vault), 12.366 (bars), 13.2 (beam) and 12.333 (floor).”

    What time was the decision to remove Thema made?

  26. So tell me how you all expect this young lady ms Thelma to feel so respect for her and her family So its all boils down to one word MONEY SAD just SAD

  27. Stanley Ryan you cannot be serious. She basically admitted that T &T isn’t in her heart and we’re just a means to an end but I as a Trinbagonian should still support her?

    If you don’t get how weak, pathetic and desperate that sounds then it’s no wonder T&T barely gets anywhere on her own steam… Because her people are content to be foreigners’ doormats.

    I find such an outright lack of pride nothing short of utterly disgusting… But to each his own, right? -_-

  28. Twisting information to justify malicious intent against an athletic wow TTGF and TTOC something is wrong with you’ll


  30. Scotland described the TTGF’s decision as: “irrational, illegal and null and void.” i do agree with Scotland who is the Attorney representing Thema as this decision seems to be pre-meditated, so without proper investigation how did they make a decision. Hmm a sad day when leaders of any regime cannot practice a code of a fair and ethical nature.

  31. everything in life is politics ….. does this drama remind anyone else of the Ms World Pageant ?

  32. Too bad both talented athletes could not represent….

  33. The response to this question is very simple: We will send noone. As a country, we need to think in the long-term. It is in the best interest of our future athletes that we demonstrate that you need to be the best in order to succeed. By making it possible for the lesser talented Canadian-at-heart to go, we are sending the wrong message to our young people. Furthermore, Marisa’s complicity in this farce is extraordinarily disturbing. She clearly lacks sportsmanship and integrity and so, does not represent the best of our great nation.

    I also have a question related to the TTGF. A number of posters have questioned about whether it is possible to defund the TTGF or to remove the board. I would like to know whether it’s possible to create a completely new entity (e.g, TT gymnastics association?) and start from scratch – new governance, new board etc. In that way, we can make the current TTGF irrelevant and just move forward as a country. Further still, we can immediately reallocate the funds from the TTGF to this new entity so that our current athletes will still be able to be have financial support in the sport while ensuring that we’re not funding someone who only considers themselves Canadian (which strikingly brings to mind colonialism – why are we giving a self-proclaimed Canadian money while we’re in a recession)

    Let’s keep putting pressure on all related parties (TTGF, Minister of Sports, TTOC etc.) irrespective of whether they say it’s their problem. They will at least be pressed to find someone whose problem it is. They all need to stop Dick-ing around (had to include that) and do something of substance. This isn’t going away

  34. Let’s vote to send no one, start a petition. No gymnast. Nada.drizzle, etc.

  35. I feel for Thema, but I can’t say I know how she feels, nobody can..all I can offer as support is this…be strong and rise above the injustice meted out to you by David Marquiz and his band of hoodlums, I make no apology because I had the experience of being unfairly treated in the selection process, just look forward. I did and attained the level from National to International representative of a world body, a status of envy by those who treated me unfairly, a status of which I will always be proud of. Bear no malice against Marisa, she is also a victim of her own conscience. As for David Marquiz and his band of hoodlums, I reserve my wish to you and your execs on this public forum…live with it.

    • why is everyone trying to evoke sympathy for Marisa ? 18 is an adult ! If she had any scruples and conscience she would not have gone along and steal Thema’s dream .. a dream she worked so hard to achieve …. she should have been honorable and turned down the offer but I think it is more like Marquez was used by her Lue Shue and her parents so no sympathy for her from this quarters

      • I totally agree with you. Part of being a great athlete is impeccable sportsmanship.

        Even if Ms. Dick does medal at the Olympics, the momentous occasion will always be eclipsed by her and the TTGF [perceived] skulduggery and she will never have the love, admiration and respect of the nation as Thema does.We will wine and jam and take a holiday for her achievement and bad talk her to death. That’s us Trinbagonians!
        But I get the feeling that Ms. Dick doesn’t give a rat’s ass about how we feel about her…once she gets her gold…bronze or silver!

    • Cheryl Gibson, if you read my piece, I never extended sympathy for Marisa, all I asked was ..bear no malice against Marisa, simply because she was not at fault, she was at a meet in Canada when she got a call, so I beg to be excluded from your accusations.

    • Mervyn Skeete is your name ‘everyone’

    • Sorry lady Gibson, no my name is not everyone, again, read the last of my comment…lol

  36. If dick won any medal she will know deep in her heart she didnt earn it

  37. Olympic Charter August 2nd, 2015:
    44 Invitations and entries*
    1. The invitations to take part in the Olympic Games shall be sent out by the IOC to all NOCs one year before the opening ceremony.
    The Olympic Games
    2. Only NOCs recognised by the IOC may submit entries for competitors in the Olympic Games.
    3. Any entry is subject to acceptance by the IOC, which may at its discretion, at any time, refuse any entry, without indication of grounds. Nobody is entitled as of right to participate in the Olympic Games.
    4. An NOC shall only enter competitors upon the recommendations for entries given by national federations. If the NOC approves thereof, it shall transmit such entries to the OCOG. The OCOG must acknowledge their receipt. NOCs must investigate the validity of the entries proposed by the national federations and ensure that no one has been excluded for racial, religious or political reasons or by reason of other forms of discrimination.
    5. The NOCs shall send to the Olympic Games only those competitors adequately prepared for high level international competition. Through its IF, a national federation may ask that the IOC Executive Board review a decision by an NOC in a matter of entries. The IOC Executive Board’s decision shall be final.

    In other words, NOC has all the power to send an athlete. You can’t just send anyone to take the spot and then say, once that person doesn’t participate then no one else can. This is a conspiracy against Thema. I’m sure that Marisa can be removed and Thema placed back where she was previously as TnT Olympic Contestant. I also believe Dr. Rowley must get involved. This is beyond sports issues, it’s National scandal affecting our reputation on International level.

  38. I find it so sad that our first time competing in the gymnastics at an Olympics is marred with such disgraceful behaviour. Trinidadians need to sit up and speak out……..fair is fair.

  39. This is a world where color places such an unfair and huge role,if they were both under scrutiny for the same reason how come the high coloured one got picked and then you hearing that nobody never told them Thema was actually injured.

  40. Thema has not yet issued statements, but the last one his post from the night before the test podium and says, “at last the dream that I dreamed”.
    To you the comments……………………… made me cry ….. This is Thema’s last post … nothing since ….. excerpt from Italian commentary of debacle

  41. What coincidence…Toni-Ann WILLIAMS becomes Jamaica’s first ever gymnast in the Olympics, while Thema WILLIAMS was denied the opportunity to become Trinidad and Tobago’s first ever gymnast in the Olympics. Coincidently also, the same principle was adopted by both the JGA and the TTGF. Something is wrong with the heads of these bodies. Did anyone say a SHRINK is the answer?

  42. If the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee doesn’t ratify Marisa Dick to compete in Rio, this country could lose out to Azerbaijan.


  43. This situation about “dual citizenship” and representing Trinidad and Tobago arose on several occasions before this present calamity. It happened in soccer, in cricket and in other sports locally, and also in other countries internationally. It is called CITIZENSHIP BY DESCENT.. Principally, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, what is causing the furore though was the dishonesty and bias of the executive members of the TTGF, and deceptive manner in which the replacement was engineered by DAVID MARQUEZ, the President, who, based on reports, has no alternative but to resign, having shown that he was dishonest in his dealings with the athletes involved, and misled the public in so doing. Both Marisa and Thrma were legitimate in their quest to be the T&T representative, whereas Thema was the obvious choice by reason of performance, that opportunity was denied due to the DISHONESTY of theTTGF, then comes the AUDACITY of David Marquiz saying”I eh kill nobody”, what arrogance.

  44. That awkward moment when a self-confessed “Canadian at heart” is forced down T&T’s collective throat… :-/

  45. you all see what she post try get her Instagram post real sad.

  46. “When elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled.”

    The matter – though at first complicated – is now simple. The TTOC now has jurisdiction on the athlete who qualified, that is Ms. Dick.

    The TTOC can choose to send Dick or give up the spot. There is a criteria for turning down the spot allotted. If the athlete is deemed fit and competent for the competition, then there is little ground for turning down the spot. Whatever happened before the qualification at Rio was none of the TTOC business – or rather, it was not within their jurisdiction. They cannot now choose or deny the athlete based on what happened before qualification. As such, they cannot be held accountable by any Court for events that occurred outside of their jurisdiction. If the TTOC denies Dick the spot based on considerations outside of the prescribed guidelines of the TTOC, then they will be open to litigation.

    On another point, lawyers bark in accordance with who is paying them; it is Keith Scotland’s job to appear ferocious and to bark as loud as he can, regardless of the merit of his argument. He may have an argument against the TTGC but not the TTOC.
    Thema’s coach sent an email that objectively reading, gave the impression that the athlete was not fit for the competition. He changed his ‘tune’ after the fact…
    He obviously would have known the consequence of his email, and it must be questioned as to why he sent such a worded email at the time he sent it.

    Further, the record of both Thema and Marisa should be studied. It will show that Dick succeeded Williams in most competition prior to the last one they competed in. This raised the issue as to which athlete may have a greater chance of success. Do you go with the one with the better record, or the one that played better in the last game? That was the principle of debate. Do you choose Narine or Jon Ross (who may have got more wickets than Narine in the last game played)? The rule said that the one who made more points in the last competition gets the nod, but wholistically, would it have been the better athlete?

    It is expected that the guidelines for choosing an athlete by the TTGC will be amended the next time around.

    • “The Trinidad and Tobago gymnast, who was born in Edmonton and has dual-citizenship, executed her patented “Dick Mount” on the beam, which, according to live updates from TheGymter, brought her warm applause and led to her highest score of the event.” Lasana Liburd

  47. pity…. they really did not want Thema….that’s why Marisa was so confident from way before that she had a chance despite Thema’s score….whether she partook or not, she seemed to have inside info….the TTGF …idk…so much wrong there….

  48. Earl Best

    “But it will be the TTOC or, more accurately, the body’s games management committee of Annette Knott, Ian Hypolite, Diane Henderson and Dr Terry Ali, who will have to figuratively look the 18 year old Dick in the eye and say that they prefer to send nobody to the Olympics than to send her.”

    You don’t make omelettes without breaking eggs nor do you get people to learn hard lessons without making hard decisions. So if it’s about the principle and not about Marisa or Thema, what could be so hard about figuratively looking the 18-year-old in the eye and telling her the truth? Is not her spot in Rio ill-gotten in the best sense of the word? But the cases of Ish and Steve and Jack Warner and a score of (particularly UNC) politicians of recent memory tell us that in T&T, if you have the right connections, it matters little how your gains were got.

  49. Well if williams can’t go, don’t send dick.

  50. There are persons in the inner circle of the TTGF who are afraid to come out and speak but should………. It’s not now these
    Injustices have been happening in gymnastics…..,.,,,,,,,, you all need to speak up

  51. I would go with nothing……….. Cause right now that’s what Marisa Dick amounts to……………… Shame on the TTGF……,.,

  52. Scotty Ranking

    So, to be crude and vulgar about this, TTGF forced their Dick on us, reaming Thema’s Olympic hopes in the process.

  53. The stress these idiots are putting on both girls..do they expect them (who ever is chosen) to perform 100% ?

  54. Why BERATE Merisa Dick? If it is, and I repeat, IF IT IS, that the decision taken was indeed clandestine then call upon the TTGF to answer to Trinidad and Tobago. If they are found to be UNPATRIOTIC, then they all MUST BE REMOVED which includes my Good Friend Elicia Peters- Charles the General Secretary of TTGF. Knowing Mrs. Charles, I do not believe she will sit idly by and support ANY decision that’s NOT in our country’s best interest! People, Merisa is one of US, she’s NOT any less WORTHY! Let Us not cast aspersions, ridicule and scorn upon her, but, rather let us give her our unconditional love and support!

    • Nope Merisa said she is Canadian in her heart. The Trini flag is a means to an end for her. She is less deserving.

    • We all are Human Beings and as such, less deserving! May be some of us are PERFECT? Just thinking ALOUD!

    • To condone what is wrong cld never be right, an athlete that is capable of doing what Marisa Dick is doing is no athlete we the pple of Trinidad wld want to represent us….. Not even to play hop-scotch. Unsportsmanlike behavior is NEVER to be praised but rather to be frowned upon. To be looked at with great disdain and disrepute. Her character and that of her conspirators are down right rotten, nothing GOOD comes from rotten fruit!

    • Sharon, could you PLEASE enlighten me as to what Marisa Dick is doing? And in so doing, could you PLEASE enlighten me about her CHARACTER? By imputing improper motives towards this young lady,YOUR INTENTIONS seem to be SINISTER, AND need NOT my CONDEMNATION to be ODIOUS! In conclusion, speak for yourself. The people of Trinidad is QUITE capable of articulating their concerns!

    • she knew about the change in selection for representing T&T before it happened and displayed “a clear disregard for fairness, good sportsmanship and ethical behavior”.

    • Exactly thank you Sharon Kezia Le Saldo… above and beyond.. the set up was clear and calculated..

    • Sharon, even though there may be some merit in your discourse to which I’m not privy to, I do believe that your condemnation towards her was too harsh. There may be other factors involved as it relates to the TTGF much to my CHAGRIN. That to my mind should be our focus and if found culpable, they ALL should be removed! Marisa, is still our nominee and as such we should ALL be PROUD as Trinidadians. AND despite OUR collective HURT, support her nonetheless! I believe that you are quite passionate and I respect that. That’s just my take on this very unfortunate and untimely event.

    • We don’t support snakes down here… Just ask kmc

    • Stanley Ryan sir your welcome to support whom you wish. But I always stand on what is right, if the situation was one in which one was unable to decipher right from wrong then by all means what matters is we have a representative, but that is not the case and I feel my condemnation was not at all harsh but warranted as she (Marisa Dick) had the penultimate decision making, she cld of done the right thing and step down, knowing full well the scheming behind the scenes.

    • TO EACH HIS/ HER OWN!! Bye!

    • Your assertion that Marisa Dick is one of us is…let’s say a bit of a stretch, unless you are from Canada yourself. Then yes, she is one of you. She’s not representing Trinidad out of love for the country, she was not good enough to make the Canadian team so she took what she thought was the easier route. Her place in the Olympics was gained through outright favoritism/nepotism. While it would be unfair to her to not allow her to go the manner in which her spot was obtained cannot be rewarded.

    • You may very well be right and totally justified for your criticism towards the TTGF. But, Marisa Dick? Come On! I’m NO Canadian! I was born in Las Bajos, Santa Flora, that’s in Trinidad. I’m beginning to WONDER whether it’s due to her IMAGE/PERSONALITY she’s being BRANDED! Had she been YOUR Sister or Relative, would you be of like mind?

    • Sean, Smiling! I thought so.

    • To ALL the NAYSAYERS,who, is in possession of Marisa’s Electronic Birth Certificate suggesting that SHE IS NOT one of US, What Does That Imply? Kill The Message? FOCUS! One of US is killing One of US everyday in Trinidad!

    • This is the same girl who confessed to being Canadian at heart, right? Does THAT sound like “one of us”?

      Ludicrous. -_-

    • Datak Tarr would you believe my daughter just a few minutes ago informed me about her statement. That was quite unfortunate to say the least!! Had I known that before, would it have clouded my judgement, MAY BE. Nevertheless, I still believe she should be supported! Those who want to descend into the gutter to express their views are FREE TO DO SO!

    • Smh head. So get what you want at all costs is the order of the day and should be supported by all because..”she done dey” ? ok mr. Stanley Ryan. I hear you.

    • No not at all! But honestly what can we do at this point? But demand accountability from Thema’s Coach and the TTGF. They must be called to A HIGHER STANDARD! Not Stanley Ryan.

    • Very unfortunate that I was tied up at work and unable to reply, seeing as you took my silence as some sort of victory. I was going to point out the statement your daughter informed you about. That is not how someone who is “one of us” speaks. She’s using us as a means to an end. So no, I don’t think she deserves our support. But even given that, if she had earned her spot but the parameters the TTGF had originally set then it would not be a problem. However , she did not. Since that point there has been a concentrated effort by the TTGF to have her be our representative. And due to that I do not think she should be allowed to go.

    • Victory?? Why would I take your silence for victory? WHAT BENEFIT is that to me? Neither You nor I could claim ANY victory. Trinidad is MUCH poorer TODAY DUE TO THE IMBROGLIO! The conclusion of the matter is TO EACH HIS OWN! I’ve had my SAY and I’ve had ENOUGH!

    • “Unfortunate”? She spits on this country and it’s “unfortunate”?

      My elders make me so “proud”. -_-

    • To Each His Own Datak Tarr! All the very best in your HAUNT!! Make certain you are at the Airport tonight. OVER AND OUT!!!!

    • She stole the spot from someone who earned it. What does that say about her character?


    • Mr Ryan for you to condone to actions of the TTGF and yuh friends is wrong. What’s your personal agenda? No support for Ms Dick. I am sure this was in the making for a while and she was well aware. Investigate everyone involved.

    • Nicole, it is CRYSTAL clear that YOU JUST WOKE UP! To this time, I NEVER CONDONED THE ACTIONS OF THE TTGF! I Expressed MY views for Marisa to be supported! As a matter of fact, I placed the IMBROGLIO squarely on the shoulders of Therma’s Coach and the TTGF! Please revisit MY COMMENTS! Thank You!

    • If I was her position purely on principle I would have stepped aside and let the Trinidadian represent Trinidad. She could go where her heart is if u ask me. Stueps

  55. Well don’t send no damn body

  56. Did he say that he couldn’t do that? I saw that stated somewhere.

    • He saying that he “will not” do it but wait… If enough pressure is brought to bear, the people have the ultimate power here. The Ministry of Sport can, has and does select who they give money to and how much. At the end of the day, it’s not Darryl Smith’s money, it’s the money of the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago and we the people, can and should dictate how it is spent, to whom it is given and for what.

    • Further, nothing ventured, nothing gained. We shouldn’t give in to apathy and give up just because a politician says he’s not going to do something or tolerate a rogue sporting body that has railroaded one of our elite athletes in favor of some chick that uses the coincidence of her birth conveniently for gain. I refuse to just roll over and I invite other citizens to refuse to roll over too.

    • Never said to roll over. Was merely asking if what I heard is true.

    • Never said you did and sorry if that was implied. I’m just fed up of us thinking we can’t ever do anything about anything.

    • I agree. The TTGF cannot be allowed to get away with this. We have to stand for something.

  57. Poor sportsmanship on Dick’s part. Thema won her place at the Glasgow World Gymnastic Championships last year in October. Marisa did not, she came in 18 places after Thema. Thema also made it into the history books when she perfected a never before seen move which has been named after her and will be used in judging criteria. The biased TTGF named Dick Gymnast of the year despite Thema’s accomplishments.

  58. Send the young lady. I dont see any legal standing for TTOC to refuse the spot. Unless they have evidence against Ms. Dick.

  59. Didn’t the TTGF have to inform the TTOC of their decision to replace Williams before going through with it? If they did then why didn’t the TTOC try to stop them then? If they didn’t then that’s a flaw in the process that should changed going forward.

  60. I see why crime cannot done ! Legal does not mean right!!! Slavery was legal!! We want no representative!!!

  61. My question to Dick is “are you really just satisfied to ‘piggyback’ your way to the Olympics on another’s hard work and sacrifice?
    Yuh know. .. win /lose or draw our sports men and women who have represented us over the years have ALWAYS been examplars of true sportsmanship! !!!
    I want to submit that this Dick does not fit the bill!! I choose zero

  62. I truly DO NOT CARE if that dick girl’s parents are from Trinidad. I’d rather have a representative who was borne here and, gave up everything for the love of red, white and black, than to have dick. Just because her parents are friends with those unscrupulous bastards who found it quite easy to dash the hopes of a true native, does not give her the blanket right to us.

    I’ll take a zero please!!!

  63. Idk what the Jamaican qualifying criteria was but…

    “Williams initially finished below another Jamaican competitor Danusia Francis at last year’s World Championships, but was given the nod by the Jamaica Gymnastics Association to compete at the Rio event.”


    • Definitely not the same as what the TTGF put in place and communicated to the TTOC.

    • Do you know what the Jamaican qualifying procedure was? Just asking…

    • Nicole Philip Greene also two Jamaicans that are Jamaicans on the floor and in their heart….Just saying

    • No idea Chabeth. Just know what ours is/was.

    • Leisel Margot Thorne, Danusia Francis is actually British born and was a reserve for the British 2012 Olympic team apparently…

    • Hey people do we even want to hear what the TTGF has to say at their press conference today? Like the adage goes ‘actions speak louder than words!’ so they can talk until cock gets teeth and a naturally green donkey walks down Frederick street in a blizzard. I am not interested in anything they want to say because it will all be LIES …. Marisa Dick has always been their first choice in spite of Thema’s performance … They victimized Thema schemed connived colluded and now wants to manipulate the population to go along with their agenda …. Away with them and that! I read in an article where Lue Shue said if TTOC does not accept the space he wants them to look an 18 years old in the eye and tell her so ….. How will the country look a 20 year old in the eye … who has sacrificed a scholarship among other things and tell her sorry but we are supporting your detractors … Do not even try that guilt tripping on me because Marisa Dick was/is in absolute compliance with all the wicked things that have been done to Thema for her own personal aspiration … Nothing as noble as historic achievement national glory or representation is involved in their actions. Should the TTOC accept that offer it will be a debilitating blow to the national morale especially the hundreds of little girls and boys who look up to Thema as their mentor … I daresay I am also keeping my eyes on Corporate Trinbago to see if they will continue to fund the TTGF under the same management ….

    • Jamaica chose the gymnast that is actively trying to develop the sport in that country. She has organised a leotard drive to encourage children coming into gymnastics and played a major part in forming the Jamaican national team to compete internationally. Not sure what can be said for Ms Dick.

    • Totally agree Cheryl. In fact I want the TTOC to look Marisa in the eye and tell her..sorry you may have been a pawn in this sick game by the TTGF. But we in Trinidad are not stupid. And we will not support the manipulation of a process that somehow ended up cheating a deserving athlete of her rightful spot. So sorry we cannot support you. That would be like condoning cheating.

    • Elizabeth Inniss I was just curious about their selection criteria cause the article made it seem as if it might have been circumvented as it mentions the other athlete performing better at worlds.
      Which isn’t to say I’m trying to use it to justify anything that the TTGF did because I’ve said multiple times that they are wrong.

    • Chabeth Haynes understood. When you mentioned I looked it up to try to get a sense of how they came to their decision

    • Chabeth Haynes I am sure she is wearing Jamaica in her heart

  64. Rule law #44 clause 2 clearly states that “only NOC’s recognized by the IOC may submit entries for participants in the Olympic Games”. Is the TTGF a recognized NOC? Seems like that is the function of TTOC therefore the submission is erroneous.

  65. It’s clear that TTGF handle this selection process with a high degree of favoritism. In spite of that we should be aware that Marisa Dick is, I believe, a mere 18 years of age. She should not chastised because no evidence that suggests she is partaking in the dethroning of Thema exists. Until otherwise is known, we should provide full support. She is performed sufficiently for T&T to qualify (ranked 89th) and we should appreciate her efforts. Our frustration, desire for selection process clarification etc should be directed at TTGF and the TTOC.

    • Kenneth the age of Marisa Dick is irrelevant to the discussion. Whether she was complicit or not is not even that important in my opinion. What the TTOC needs to consider is that a process was manipulated to deny a rightful place to an athlete locally born and bred. Marisa was also a pawn in this sick plot. We shouldn’t be rewarding people who deliberately cheated our country by facilitating Marisa and her parents Olympic dream. This will set a bad precedent for sport in Trinidad and Tobago. We should send a message ..we will not be taken for fools.

    • Rose- Marie Ingrid, while I may agree with most of your comment, please try to understand that there is NO LINE DRAWN between a person born and bred in Trinidad and Tobago and a person acquiring citizenship of T&T by DESCENT, like in the case of Marisa, the latter enjoys every privilege afforded the former.. and her status cannot be revoked.

    • Mervyn I understand completely. The focus was not intended to be the fact that Marisa wasn’t born here. But let’s face it…if you had a toss up (which you didn’t because Thema won the place outright) don’t you think the country should favour an athlete who was born and bred and trained here while inspiring many local children as she rose in the ranks of the sport? Hypoyhetically speaking all things being equal wouldn’t you give the edge to homegrown talent? This is what Jamaica did.

  66. Marisa Dick or nothing? I vote nothing. Mainly because after this sordid debacle she does not have the support of Trinidad and Tobago. Going to the Olympics is every athlete’s dream. I don’t see why we have to fund Marisa Dicks dream. It’s not like if she has a chance to bring home a medal for our country. If this were the case it would still be a sour pill but some Trinis would be happy for a victory and say “one is one”. But let’s face it if Thema were going to Rio we would be immensely proud of her even if she didn’t win a medal because we would identify with the struggle she endured to get there. Not to mention the personal sacrifices she made. We would be cheering her on just like we would George Bovell. .Andrew Lewis..Njisane Phillips. .to name a few. So if the TTOC decides that on principle they refuse to spend money and resources to fulfill Dick’s lifelong dream which came at the expense of Thema’s lifelong dream I am fine with that decision.

  67. No person or team selected in this manner can ever get my support or respect

  68. This whole episode is so distasteful. Why to date have Marissa not been put before the disciplinary committee for her nude pic which was done after she signed the contract with the clause but Thema pic from two years ago warranted such. Thinking out loud…I wonder if ms. Dick could have qualified to represent Canada she would still chosen the little Republic of TT.

  69. This re-post may help as well…
    It really is mind boggling that in this day and age, with information at our fingertips, people do not read and inform themselves before making seemingly authoritative pronouncements on important national issues. For those ignorant as to the authority of our local NOC, the TTOC please read http://www.olympic.org/Documents/olympic_charter_en.pdf#page80. Pay particular attention to Rule Law 44 on page 81, titled ‘Invitation and Entries’ (and it’s by laws) especially clauses 2&3.

  70. In basketball it have a General Secretary who is also the acting President all of which is in violation of the Constitution….to make matters worse, she signs letters as the Secretary General, but the constitution makes provision for General Secretary……Power is ah hell of ah ting…….she signs letter as the President & General Secretary…ah serious..

  71. Michael I’ve been saying that Geddert did the most damage in the preamble of his dispatch.

  72. Oh well what can I say!!!! plan well executed they got what they wanted in the end but God certainly don’t like ugly…. Now I hope citizens don’t get fex when our athletes accept US nationality and represent on a USA ticket…. Thema if you go USA I would not mind at all I will still support you… keep your head up Thema. .

  73. Michael you said’ he gave them the dagger etc’ who is he?

  74. This was a well calculated and meticulous plot to get thema out. Wow! the sinister machinations of this ttgf is chilling. While everyone else was grasping at straws the dotted their Is and crossed the Ts

  75. The only word to describe this is SAD. Really the behaviour of the TTGF is unbelievably bad and it is unfortunate that these two athletes are now affected negatively.

  76. I totally agree with Richard Zen O’Brien. Make a stand and say nobody going. Otherwise, malfeasance and atrocious unsporting behaviour, wins.

  77. Seems like president Marquez loves “dick “…….

  78. Thank you Michael. Complicit was the word that just popped into my head to describe her involvement in this mess. I also suspect that her team will advise her to remain silent while this whole situation plays itself out. Just let the TTGF take the heat and remain looking like the innocent bystander

  79. If anyone believes that Dick wasn’t complicit in this mess, I have a bridge to sell you.

  80. The TTGF played an excellent game of chess while everyone else was playing checkers. It was unfair and grossly bias but well played.

  81. Once the position was gained through illegal means then the TTOC cannot support such actions which can put them in legal limbo. If such is the case block the cock, oops I mean the dick!

  82. Will Thema’s team issue a statement regarding this atrocity?

  83. First we have the wicb board now the ttoc and ttgf boards operating in a silo and once again the athletes suffer due to their ineptitude

  84. It is a shame that our historic feat, first time qualifying to participate in Olympic gymnastics, is tarnished with controversy and bacchanal. Jamaica accomplished the same feat and it’s all above board… no scandal, no cronyism, and no fighting and brawling.

  85. Lasana you’ll feel is gymnastics alone…..trust me when I say basketball is the worse of the lot……trust me and that’s my sport…stay tuned…

  86. Well it’s seems she was trying to keep her options open in case there was a space on the Canadian team.

    • If she was anywhere close to making the Canadian team, she wouldn’t have even looked our way.
      This isn’t the first time she’s representing us. She’s been doing it for a couple years now if I’m not mistaken.

    • exactly! If she had been good enough to make the canadian team she wouldn’t be here piggybacking on t&t and giving us the time of day. She had one foot in each door hoping to get a way in. The old adage winners never cheat and cheaters never win will be the last words of this tragic tale. My heart bleeds for Thema.

  87. Stand for something or fall for everything they say. Nothing for daily double Alex.

  88. It is very simple, do not fund those NSOs that have questionable governance. They do not have rights to government funding.

  89. I don’t care if it is vindictive or not. Why should taxpayers fund an undemocratic body that does not act in the best interest of its athletes?
    Let Smith put his own salary in there if he likes. But I object to using my taxes in that way.

  90. wait people prefer we turn down a spot at the olympics? smh.

  91. Emir Crowne is a sport attorney who has advised on this matter. He probably can’t say much at all on this though.

  92. Is Dick Canadian? Or holds dual citizenship ?

    • but ask her how she feels about her nationality …. let’s see how honest she is … then google her and you will see for yourself how she feels

    • Seriously Cheryl, where were you for the discussions about her heart belongs to Canada picture?! Lol. Because I was one of a handful of ppl criticizing Marisa for that while others were telling me we should be grateful she wants to represent us.

    • right here if her heart belongs to Canada I was not going to try to convince her to feel otherwise but I am disappointed and feel like T&T is being used because it is only because she was rejected by the Canadian team she is falling upon T&T’s back

    • You all are killing me here!!!
      I was like the lone voice criticizing this picture, other ppl were criticizing me for criticizing the picture and liking the comments that said we should be grateful she wants to represent us…
      Where the heck were all of you?! Lol.

    • And Cheryl and Lou-Ann, people were actually trying to convince me that her “split loyalties” were totally understandable and now people have nothing but hate to throw her way.
      Trinis need to be medicated yes…

    • Chabeth are you familiar with this quote “you cannot serve two masters because you will love one and hate the other” I guess that is my medicine….

    • Nope. I was also against it. I even questioned how she reached to representing T&T. I suspect that she was not good enough to represent Canada and did not make their team, so she/her mother thought she would be a shoe in for T&T. Unfortunately, neither they nor the Lue Shues took Thema into consideration or the support that Thema has. They thought we would be SO happy to have a faarin person go up for us. Big mistake!

  93. Yooo need to get better hosting bro ….. Website on another level Lasana Liburd

    • HostGator has dragged its feet. You live and you learn. I’ve been trying to sort this matter out since mid-February.
      The site is growing fast and the growing pains are really frustrating. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.
      You should get on by refreshing. And we will continue to improve our infrastructure.

    • Lasana Liburd refreshing will work sometimes but because of the foot traffic …… Host gator is the worst I recommend …. Godaddy ….. Better hosting ….. Better layout etc etc

    • Well, I may have a hard decision to make at some point. I’m trying to avoid moving because of the downtime. So I am looking to upgrade package. And they are taking their sweet time in seeing about that…

    • Lasana Liburd bummer ….. Work it out bro ….

  94. While I agree with u Lasana, don’t u think that will open up another can of worms? It may be an honest and nobel move now, another time it may be vindictive

  95. Can’t we do anything right in this place? Agreed Helen, gymnasts are very very competitive against their own. Egos abound.

  96. I wonder what CAS might say. That might be Thema’s only chance.

  97. ..They will all scream bloody murder for government interference and cry out for protection from their international federation..

  98. “The TTGF response was bullish” misprint.

  99. This sort of thing happens with almot every spirting group. Gymnastics is one of the worst tho. We have people trying to satisfy their egos thru their children in events they never had the guts to try

  100. You can’t force any NSO to change anything. You can only advise and persuade. And if you are not prepared to use the big stick of funding, what leverage do you have?
    An organisation this cunning is suddenly going to decide to make itself vulnerable through changing its constitution of its own free will?
    They would probably roll over laughing at that one.

  101. Very good answer Lasana, I appreciate your sentiments. I would hate to see TNT not represented though.

  102. I am honestly not seeing any other result than the TTOC succumbing to the craftiness of the TTGF and allowing Dick to go. Williams has the option to sue although nothing may come of that. I do agree with the Minister’s position though with 1 reservation: Force all NSO’s to change their constitution to allow for a more democratically elected board (although I’m not sure if that is even legal)

  103. I can’t believe that a small group can be so powerful to make the decision they did. I still say Geddert did some damage.

    • I concur. He gave them the dagger and he MUST have known that he’d done so. This reeks of “here’s your 30 pieces of silver and don’t worry, you can blame us afterwards”.

    • In professional, competitive sports, such as gymnastics, injuries are rampant with EVERY athlete. Hardly any athlete in the sport goes to an event 100%. They either have budding injuries, recurring injuries, or healing injuries. Geddert, was following the rules. He HAS to report any injuries sustained, he HAS to give his athlete the option of pulling out, he HAS to let his athlete be cleared by the accredited medical board for each event. Withholding any of that information would be a breach of contract. The TTGF, if they had any real concerns, as to the athlete’s health, was supposed to follow up, via written, and voice correspondence. They were also supposed to order a medical report, from the accredited medical staff for the event. They did no such thing. They manipulated the report, to suit their own underhand dealings.

    • You better believe it … in all boards set up to manage sport in this country. ..once it has TT b4 it this is how its governed…having been privy to TTBBC the advisor had all the say…he was the board and everyone else was just filling #’s… its sad yes.., also being privy to the girls football team… they almost always do same and bring in players who have Trini parents to take positions like goal keeper etc some months b4 match and they are almost always chosen to play leaving our girls who train together here on the benches… treating our girls substandard to the one’s who live canada and america…

  104. Lasana will you support Dick if she is chosen?

    • I will wish her well if she is chosen Shireen. Because she is representing T&T and there is no proof that she did nothing wrong–even though she might have allowed herself to be used to hurt Thema.
      However, if she isn’t chosen, I would understand that decision too.
      And, unless Thema personally endorses her, it is hard to see Dick being chosen.
      And Thema certainly doesn’t owe Dick any solidarity under the circumstances.

    • I hope Thema’s counsel pursues this all the way to the Courts as well..

    • Lasana Harding v Kerrigan in the making. the TTGF also has a responsibility to shape the relationships that the athletes have in a competitive environment where spots are limited.

  105. If Marisa goes, I’m not how that affects the TTOC president’s credibility…

  106. So if Dick goes I guess some Trinis won’t be supporting her. Nobody is guilt tripping anyone, we all fell sad for Thema but the decision is not ours, at best we can support our rep.

  107. Well I guess Trinidad and Tobago will not be represented at the Olympics in Gymnastics … Nobody can guilt trip me and I hope neither can they guilt trip the TTOC … Yes I will look an 18 years old in the eye and tell her she is NOT going to the Olympics because she is piggybacking on a 20 year old who did all the hard work and she now slides in by favoritism and nepotism !

  108. I guess the TTGF PR machinery is crossing Ts and busy crafting a case for public consumption to justify their actions.

  109. Why is this a tough decision? Don’t we have ethics? Are we going to allow ourselves to railroaded just so we could say, ‘Trinidad and Tobago had an Olympian in gymnastics’? Because that’s what Dick’s participation means!
    There is more ‘upside’ for local aspiring gymnasts if a stand is made for what is right. This is not complicated. If Trinidad and Tobago is capable of producing one ‘Williams’, then we are capable of producing two. If ‘Dick’ is pushed on us, then that may kill ANY chance of producing another ‘Williams’.

  110. The gymnastics fraternity had consultation a year or two ago with Elton Prescott SC and recommendations were made to adjust the constitution. The TTGF executive apparently rejected those recommendations. Just as the WICB has done.
    Change won’t come easy here.

  111. ..Well, I have here previously the MOS happy with everybody. AND I have said here previously I believe in grassroots democracy. People have to claim ownership of their sport. Simple. Let’s see if the practitioners of gymnastics are willing or not to accept the TTGF’s bull shit and allow them to resume normal service..

  112. I have to agree with him, the TTGF board needs to go and we must continue to nurture our promising gymnasts. Btw if I was Thema I would have accepted US citizenship and contest on their behalf.

  113. Very good article. I missed a lot of the follow up interviews today with the Minister and TTOC. We between a rock and a hard place. I do not envy the decision makers

    • Agreed it was a good article however i noted he ended “So please, while you chastise our young and aspiring, understand that these young boys and girls, men and women—whether born in Trinidad and Tobago or outside of our shores—have as much right to be proud of who they are as any of us”

      I’m not convinced she is proud to represent T&T an Olympic place yes

  114. Geddert, in his preamble messed things up even more. Still Kwesi there is no need to bash Dick. She is representing TNT. I sincerely hope that this kind of thing never happens again. Shame on the TTGF

    • “there is no need to bash Dick. She is representing TNT.”

      she’s not representing us at the Olympics yet. She MAY represent, but it’s not a foregone conclusion.

      and she is on record as expressing her true allegiance to Canada.

      Now if there was no local bred alternative, I would support her. But what was done to Thema was an injustice. An injustice that threatens to compromise all athletic development in T&T. because endorsing what the TTGF did, by accepting their behaviour with only some words thrown their way sideways, ENCOURAGES this kind of malfeasance. Look at WICB. Same thing!!

      As a patriot, and as the father to two boys aspiring to be athletes…I cannot encourage this shit. And I would hope that we all get off our complacent asses and say no to this shit…

  115. Keith, I think the TTGF outmanoeuvred all the watch dogs here constantly. And with a suspect constitution at their disposal, it is no surprise why they are virtually immovable.
    The TTGF does not have a one club-one vote system. It is a delegate system and essentially they can vote for themselves to stay put.
    And the Sport Minister has said he will continue to fund them no matter what anyone else says.

  116. The Minister really can’t do anything in this situation but the Ministry needs to take a good hard long look at the governance structures of al NSOs.
    Because in this particular case idk what qualifications any of these executive members had that would enable them to make an educated determination about whether an athlete is fit for competition or not. And across many NSOs we seem to have ill-informed people making decisions to the detriment of the sports and the athletes.

    • Well, Darryl Smith has said clearly that he will not stop funding the TTGF.

    • I really don’t know how the TTGF spends its money but I wouldn’t support defunding. Innocents get hurt through defunding.
      But the ministry should demand a change to the governance structure or something. Because many NSOs are littered with people who really should not be the decision makers for the sport. And it is killing sport in this country.
      I mean up to now, the TTGF has not said why it prefers Marisa.

    • The Lue Shues prefer Marisa, it is all about them

    • Off the record, they say Marisa is a better athlete. And the Sport Minister cannot change the structure of the TTGF. His only weapon is funding and he said he will not use that.

    • Of course the sport minister can change the structure. The ministry is the one that has demanded that all NSOs change to LLCs.
      As for Marisa she did place 50th at worlds one year which is the highest placing the country has ever attained and plus she was injured for commonwealth. But the question remains, what qualifications do the people who have determined her to be the better athlete have to be able to determine that?
      But again, I think the criteria has to change. Idk how many sports have their final qualifier for an event six months ahead of time.
      This Olympic qualifier is in April and the qualifying event for it is in October? For a sport like gymnastics? That’s so injury-prone?

    • The Minister can request that NSOs change to LLCs. He can’t demand anything. Generally, you take the carrot and stick approach to negotiations.
      Smith has already ruled out the stick.

    • Leisel Margot Thorne, are you involved in gymnastics? Do you know how many clubs there are? How did the Lue Shues become so powerful in this thing? They are only two voices. How are the able to get the other executive members on board with what they want to do? Did they bring money to gymnastics or something?

    • Chabeth Haynes it seems like what ever they say goes. I am only repeating what I saw posted since this thing happen. And when you see them ask them if they bring money into the sport, I want to know too

    • That photo doesn’t prove anything though Leisel.

    • Yeah. I’m not sure what the photo says other than they took a photo together. Was it at a gymnastics event? When Lue Shue was president?
      I think the more important thing is why the other members of the executive didn’t stand up for Thema.
      Lasana, the conversation about what the ministry can do is more complex than that but another night…

    • It was at the Toronto Pan Am. Lue Shue was there legitimately as was Marisa Dick and everyone else.
      So I have no idea why Loop TT or anyone else thinks it is such a scoop.
      It is fine that they are friendly. Nothing wrong in that.

    • Lasana Liburd Lol… I will leave it there

    • I am completely unfamiliar with the ttgf’s constitution but I am sure that it is a recipe for unbalanced and unchecked power.

    • Lasana, when you said defund I thought you meant immediately.
      When I say the ministry can do something regarding governance structure I mean it can say this is our idea of good governance structure and these are our guidelines etc etc and we’ll only associate with NSOs who meet our guideline. So I think we’re on the same page regarding funding (phew!) I just thought you meant immediately with no room for the NSO to make adjustments.
      Of course, we could always start by defunding private clubs…are you on board with that yet? Lol?

  117. This entire thing is upsetting. The TTGF must go now, they should be sued every last one of them should pay.

  118. Hmmm let’s see how TNT patriotism works.

  119. How so Kwesi? You know that for sure?

    • I justusfind it hard to believe that you prepped to be in Brazil by Sunday noon, if you get the call in Canada on Saturday morning. That suggests to me an unusual amount of preparedness for significant travel. That suggests she may have been aware of the opportunity.

      I don’t have proof. but circumstantial evidence convicts her in my mind…

    • Bags packed, tickets and hotel booked long time

    • Kwesi…she was in a competition, had a five hour journey to Edmonton etc…so you will hang her on circumstantial evidence? Awrite then

    • LOL!! but we do that all the time in T&T!! Calder Hart thief, ent?

      she want to represent T&T…take Trini judgment!!

    • She was not in a competition, the story is she was on her way to one. She was definitely prepared for 18hrs of transit, which means she knew she was going, at least 24hrs before Thema’s camp. She was also en route to Rio, long before Geddert was even informed that Thema was axed

    • Wait a minute …. Aren’t alternates always supposed to make the trip????

      You mean to say if Thelma fell down a stair the night before that Dick was supposed to fly from T&T to get all the way there in time??

      Don’t you all notice that in football and any other game, even in dance like ballet that the alternate always has to be waiting in the wings??? What on earth is wrong with you people??

  120. I don’t think you can say the TTGF backs the TTOC, as the Olympic rules state the (gymnast) athlete that competes at the Test Event and qualifies would be the same at the games..

  121. I would prefer that TNT had a representative at the Olympics, honestly I think her coach messed up big time.

  122. I really don’t see the need to bash Dick, it’s unfair. Thema was dealt a teribble blow, but please stop the nonsense by bashing Dick.

    • Dick is complicit in the whole thing.

    • Dick could at least open her mouth and verbally do the right thing. So bash have to pass for that. Her hands aren’t clean, she’s old enough and she has sense so can’t claim innocence

    • Yes there is need to bash Dick. Would you do what Dick did and comfortably go to Rio under these given circumstances Shireen ? This assuming she didn’t have extensive dialogue with Thema or other persons involved. Which I’m pretty sure didn’t happen.

    • open her mouth and be victimized by the same people who orchestrated this whole thing? who’s to say that she’s comfortable? I don’t think it’s fair to drag her into this. A few months ago when Dick made headlines for introducing the new move werent we all supportive and accepting of her.

    • There is no need to bash Dick. However, thinking that Dick, is/was, ignorant of all the behind the scenes workings to get her to Rio, is ludicrous!!! She even changed her attitude towards Thema, early on. She is just as complicit in the blame for a lack of ethics. Yes she’s a very talented athlete, but, also a dangerous one. As she and her camp would stop at nothing to get her to the top.

    • is it ultimately ethical if she stands up for thema and both of their chances are sabotaged by the goodly TTGF and we have no representation at all?

    • Kyle your statement supports why Dick should be bashed. Because she’s actively involved in the plot.

    • Back in January – three months after Williams had earned the spot at the April test event – Dick (in being interviewed on her move) said: “Only one of us gets to go to the Olympics, so it’s kind of a cutthroat time. But it’s exciting.” That article – and every other in which she participated – indicated that she and Williams were still in competition…when in fact she was the alternate. That’s why the local media – and many people – didn’t realise that already Williams was being undermined in an unacceptable way. That does not look innocent to me. It more looks complicit.

    • You are all over interpreting Dick’s guilt. Competition will always exist who is the main performer or player and who is the alternate. You are seeing only color. Get over it, not everything is about race. Even as the organizers TTGF may have done that, it’s overreaching to also accuse the athlete of conniving to take the spot unfairly

    • Which comments in this sub-thread are about colour or race? If it were about race, speaking for myself, I should be defending Dick as another mixed race, bi-national woman – rather than looking rationally at the timelines and behaviours, and being guided accordingly. You were right about one thing: not everything is about race, and some things really are over-reaching.

    • Read above and the entire thread Caroline.

      Alternates are always supposed to be ready to go so it mystifies me why people are reading so much into it. Granted it was before the actual day of competition for Thema but no serious gymnast would start packing last minute.

    • Re the comment, you posted it on this sub-thread, where no mention was made of race; it perhaps should have been directed to someone else in the main thread. Re Rio/Dick – she was competing at another event in Canada. By all accounts, she was not going to be in Rio to stand by as alternate, and changed plans hastily after receiving a last minute call from the TTGF to *replace* Williams – a call that seems to have gone out to her before Williams’ team was even contacted. What happened here was (putting it mildly) suspect, and quite possibly (likely?), cruel and unethical. And that, again, has nothing to do with colour or race. It’s what all facts in evidence point to.

  123. ..Let’s see now what: 1) Brian Lewis, 2) the member clubs of the TTGF, 3) the MOS, and 4) the aggravated public will do. In terms of representation in Rio it really is Dick or nobody. But these cynics in the TTGF should be made to pay a price for their unethical actions..

  124. Couldn’t get any clearer than this. Crystal clear

  125. They won’t resign. Their egos have already taken them this far.

  126. So the IGF rules state Marissa or nobody but reference is made to the Minister refusal to intervene? What’s suggested he do? Call the IGF and demand they change their rules to suit T&T?! ??

  127. I still don’t understand what is the problem with Thelma not being allowed to compete smh

  128. TTGF had two elite athletes capable of making it to the Olympics and they have created a situation where neither may end up going… How do they think they shouldn’t all resign???

  129. I said it already…to back his rhetoric, T&T is in a unique position, it already knows its placement in the Gymnastics event!!