Home / Rio 2016 / Marisa’s Rio journey began BEFORE the TTGF had axed Thema

Marisa’s Rio journey began BEFORE the TTGF had axed Thema

An Edmonton Journal article has suggested that Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick began her trip to Rio de Janeiro to compete in the 2016 Olympic Test event on Sunday April 17, before Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) president David Marquez officially selected her to replace Thema Williams.

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

Marquez informed Williams’ coach, John Geddert, at 12.27 am (1.27 am) on Saturday April 16 that the TTGF had decided to replace Williams with her alternate, Dick, on the grounds of a presumed injury.

It was 10.27 pm in Edmonton at the time and Dick, according to the Edmonton Journal, was more than a quarter way through a five hour drive from Alberta to Edmonton to catch a flight from Canada that will take her, via a connection in Houston, to Rio.

“(Dick) was en route to Brazil, making a journey of some 11,000 kilometres,” stated the Edmonton Journal. “She caught a ride from Fort McMurray to Edmonton at 9 pm Friday night, jumped on a 7 am Saturday flight to Houston, then on to Rio…”

Almost certainly, the timeline will be raised by the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee’s (TTOC) Games Management Committee and Williams’ attorney, Keith Scotland, as the TTGF is expected to be asked to explain its behaviour over the last weekend.

On Saturday afternoon, a gymnastics source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed that the TTGF’s decision to replace Williams was made solely to protect her from 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)

The source claimed the TTGF did not know at the time that Dick would be available to replace her.

“The decision that the TTGF made was to take Thema out of the competition to safeguard her from injury,” the source told Wired868. “It was not a decision to replace her with Marisa because they didn’t know if Marisa was available.”

Marquez suggested too, in his email to Geddert, that “arrangements are being made to have the alternate Marisa Dick compete.”

However, according to the Edmonton Journal, Dick was at least an hour and a half into her journey by then.

The TTGF might have breached its own contract with Williams too, which stated that she could only be removed by the head of delegation after consultation with her coach and relevant medical personnel.

In this case, the head of delegation, Nicole Fuentes—who is also a therapist—wrote the TTGF to say it had overreacted while Geddert said that and much more.

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)

And, in his email, Marquez admitted that he had not seen a medical report but simply asked the coach to provide one at a later time.

Marquez claimed, in his email, to have tried to reach Geddert by telephone.

But Williams’ American coach said he received only one missed call, which was at 11.20 pm (12.20 am Rio time) and no voice mail from the TTGF. That was at 9.20 pm in Edmonton and Dick’s dash to Rio has already started.

The TTOC will have the final say on which athletes represent their country at the 2016 Olympics. But, since FIG rules dictate only athletes qualified from the Test event can be considered, it is a choice between Dick or nobody at all.

The TTOC’s Games Management Committee, which is comprised of Annette Knott, Ian Hypolite, Diane Henderson and Dr Terry Ali, will make the call.

“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…”

There might be legal ramifications either way.

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)

(Timeline)

(On April 15 at 5.24 pm Edmonton time/ 7.24 pm TT time/ 8.24 pm Rio time)

Geddert emails his daily report to ex-TTGF general secretary Frances Dow, who is supposed to forward the message to the TTGF board:

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

(On April 15 at 7.24 pm Edmonton time/ 9.18 pm TT time/ 10.18 pm Rio time)

Dow confirms receipt of email and urges Geddert to continue his good work:

“(…) I will fwd to TTGF. I think it’s crucial to keep her focused, hyped and confident; despite the niggling soreness to get the job done.

“I hear you—heart all the way from here on in, I have no doubt in my mind that she can do this. Gotta dig deeper perhaps, but you have done your job, so now it’s her turn… Thank you for all you do.”

(On April 15 at 9 pm Edmonton time/ 11 pm TT time/ 12 am Rio time [on April 16])

The Edmonton Journal says Dick leaves for Edmonton where she will catch a flight to Houston and then to Rio. The ticket is supposedly purchased by a “good samaritan.”

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)

(On April 15 at 9.20 pm Edmonton time/ 11.20 pm/ 12.20 am Rio time [on April 16])

John Geddert’s cell phone rings once. It is a call from Trinidad but he says he was asleep. There was, apparently, no voice mail message.

(On April 15 at 10.27 pm Edmonton time/ [on April 16] 12.27 am TT time/ 1.27 am Rio time)

David Marquez emails John Geddert:

“Thema will not perform well at this competition due to her injury… As a result, the Federation has unanimously decided to pull Thema from the test event. Arrangements are being made to have the alternate Marisa Dick compete.

“We do suggest that Thema be taken to the meet physician to report on the extent of her injury. We would appreciate a copy of that report.”

Photo: COPOS Credit Union manager and Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) president David Marquez (left) makes a presentation to GECCU president Clarence Harry. (Copyright GECCU)
Photo: COPOS Credit Union manager and Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) president David Marquez (left) makes a presentation to GECCU president Clarence Harry.
(Copyright GECCU)

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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100 comments

  1. Exactly my point Antonio Decklan Ross. I want to see her passport. Said so from day one. This was a deliberate attempt to sabotage Thema so Dick would go instead. What’s done in the dark ALWAYS come to light and history for TnT CANNOT be made at the hands of NASTY. This stinks of ROT.

  2. they are saving face, if i were Hannifer i would be furious at the La Shues, Marisa does not deserve all the hate , its the corrupt people on boards , like they have lied to you guys imagine the lies they have told the Dick Family ? but that being said it is not about Trinidad and Tobago making history by competing at the Olympics, the Olympic principles are Excellence – Friendship – Respect , this did not happen as a result the TTOC has insure going forward that one athlete does not attain personal gain at the detrement to another athlete who was disbarred illegally , immorally …i could go on. Olympics Movement is about the right of a person to practice a sport on a fair level playing field, calling it fairplay, this did not happen for Thema , this is why she has a very strong case going forward, the TTOC has to be very careful because Thema has these boards that will hear her story the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS)
    the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)

  3. when they started to prepare her for the spot what was she told what did she accept knowing very well that the spot was for Thema Williams’ ankle was perfectly well way back in october aback. how did she interpret the picture of Thema that was in circulation before hers? the mar whatever his name failed to accept the medical report from a pro in the medical field. also, when a key athlete in line up for a meet is injured the norm is, the public is told and is given a time line for expected healing duration we the public knew absolutely nothing until the evil news broke. too much was to visible for dick to pretend all is well. absolutely not. NO THEMA WILLIAMS NO ENTRY FOR THE OLYMPIC GYMNASTIC!!! we are waiting for the diabolic board to pack up and get out and exile themselves

  4. Telma good is the boss what miss you is for a reason OK we love you

  5. O what tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive

  6. Ah not hearing our serian Pm on the issue.

  7. The other shoe has dropped. Wrong colour and race again. So so very sad.

  8. i hope that Thema and her lawyer”s sues them,they to wicked

  9. This board figure people stupid!!! Stueps! But sad to say in Trinidad these actions are common. I do pray that they are held accountable for their actions!

  10. Colorism….smh. Guess she’s to dark to go down in history as the first person representing T&T in gymnastic at the Olympic. People could try and refute my opinion all they want…I believe that’s the crux of the matter?

  11. The lies don’t add up… the timeline doesn’t add up… her readiness for competition doesn’t add up… the Oct 2015 emails from the TTGF doesn’t add up… nothing adds up… but the TTGF actually has the gall to call a press conference and parade and preen with their lies. ONLY IN T&T ppl are allowed to profit from such fraudulent activities and as a bonus Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj rushes to represent them…. ppfftt!!!

  12. Conspiracy and Corruption.This young lady got money from the Ministry of Sports in 2013. Check her interview on You tube.

  13. With TTGF every creed and race doesn’t have an equal place.

  14. hmmm a case of black vs white ….i guess i have to bleach my skin if i ve to get away with anything in this country…. a free pass for being white

  15. Why we didn’t we send,both of them to Brazil .?
    Backward slave mentality. Still practice in T&T.

  16. Let her go to another country and represent them and then you’ll hear the same dumb ass and they claiming her oh she’s from Trinidad and Tobago steups… No wonder why we don’t get anywhere

  17. I’m sorry for her, they real fight her down our only chance of getting a medal in gymnastics stolen off of the way the young lady looks, huh DONKEYOLOGY

  18. So this is dih girl dat Tony Lee and Enoch say “Black”. Bullpistle deh want fuh dat BS. Deh say she is ah “light-skin Black”. Dumb and Dumber just getting Dumber and Dumber.

    • Earl Best

      How does Marisa’s colour become an issue here? It may well be one in the minds of the people behind it all but can’t we deal with this strictly on the grounds of WHAT is fair and just and not on the grounds of WHO is fair and who is dark?

      Besides, Dale Enoch and Tony Lee? Since when can we trust them to deal in objective truth?

    • The Canadian paper said that. I saw it.

  19. I was puzzled by the dates and times I had read in another article , this proves it

  20. Lasana Liburd I think that the stipulation for booking an international flight is 24 hrs before departure. What will be interesting is to see the documentation relating to flight booking etc.

  21. Agreed 100%… Non-progressive mentality

  22. I am so fed up of this place…down to a simple thing like gymnastics where should be focusing on how proud we are to accomplish this we here dealing with once again corrupt practices from those in “authority”. I need a vacation away from a “vacation island”?

  23. At this time..9.15pm on April 19, 2016, is DAVID MARQUEZ still the President of the TTGF?…

  24. Racism at its best, by these white elitist in Trinidad.

  25. As “Chris Rock ” would say………. If it’s black send it back, but i f it’s white it’s alright…………..SMH

  26. As someone I know aptly put it…this may be all be quite simple…as simple as black and white

  27. Could the hue be the deciding factor given thd type of event hmm

  28. What I don’t get is why the need for all this drama. Somebody/’s obviously lying. Either the coach, the physio, the TTGF, Dick, or Thema. Is she or isn’t she injured? If she is then, a replacement is needed once procedure is followed. All this drama…geez

  29. The overwhelming message being put out to the youth is do NOT trust… Divulge nothing. Thema would likely be headed to the Olympics if the coach was all “smile and wave”.

  30. So wait…who in their right minds will axe someone without knowing for sure if the stand-by was available?

  31. Her Canada coach commented in the Journal about her shock at receiving the call for Dick to leave the event. I be wondering what time she got that call.

  32. The journey had to start before officially axing Thema though. It was the day before the competition. They had to find out if Marisa was available before axing Thema. Axing Thema with no sure replacement would have been even more heartless.

    • “The decision that the TTGF made was to take Thema out of the competition to safeguard her from injury,” the source told Wired868. “It was not a decision to replace her with Marisa because they didn’t know if Marisa was available.”

    • Lol. We all know that the TTGF (either the entire executive or part of the executive) wanted Marisa to go instead of the Thema. I am way past those lies.
      And if the split in the TTGF is to believed, there is no way to know whether this source was “in the know” or not.

    • Dick was getting ready to compete in some provincial competition. In other words, she was training before hand. They damn well knew she would be able to go to Rio.

  33. Trinidad, boy oh boy….. Trinidad and its sporting organizations reeked with incompetent leadership, nepotism, cronyism, underhandedness etc

  34. She left Edmonton at 9 pm. She must have known at least half hour before, probably more. So to be safe, let’s say she knew at 8.30 Edmonton time (more like 8) that was only half hour after Dow replied. But Dow had that email since 5.24 so we’ll never know. The other thing is, if the choice was made based on the 5.24 email that means that between 5.24 and 9 Trinidad would have had to consult on the change, communicate with Edmonton, book several flights (this would include contacting and arranging with the “supporter” that paid for the trip), confirm with Dick (that little liar), arrange the “ride” to the airport and have her get ready (pack, etc). A very productive 3 hours and 36 minutes.

    • THAT is what you call multi-tasking!!!!

    • She was in Fort McMurray at the time she allegedly received the call.

      Fort McMurray is about 5 hours north of Edmonton.

      So she had a 5 hour drive before boarding the plane in Edmonton.

      The Edmonton Journal reports “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”

      No coach in their right mind would allow an athlete to compete under those conditions unprepared. If she was prepared ahead, timed her training right, had good seats on the plane to sleep, maybe that would be different.

    • Earl Best

      Naette, Dick may be many things – not all of them good – but where is the evidence that she is a liar? I think we should aim our guns at the truly guilty people in this despicable charade and not at those who are merely carried along – albeit willingly – in their slipstream.

  35. If it was up to me we would have no rep at the Olympics as it was their intentions all along to replace her

  36. The T&T Gymnastics Federation is the officially recognized body for Gymnastics in Trinidad & Tobago by the FIG, PAGU, TTOC, MOS, MOE and SporTT. Does the TTGF really speak for these bodies?

  37. Marisa NO Problem ,The Dicks at the helm of TTGF BIG Probem…….

  38. Lasana I fed up of this kind of shit you know?
    Every single discussion around here revolves around ascertaining what took place regarding one subject or another and then determining who was responsible…..usually pointlessly so.
    So now (and I’m sure there’ll be an alternative report soon) it is being reported that the TTGA via unferhanded means denied Thema the spot in favor of Dick. If this in fact does turn out to be true what action (if any) can and will be taken against the TTGA and by whom?

    All yuh doh fed up?

  39. Read it…n so I rest my case..she knew.

  40. ..And now TTGF board members saying they didn’t vote to replace Thema while other board members claiming the decision was “unanimous”. Oh Gawd boy!..

  41. So this was a well executed plan that the Edmonton Journal innocently revealed. Wow

  42. Who exactly (if anyone at all) is the TTGA accountable to?

    Wait……forget that.
    I forgot where I’m talking about!