Home / Rio 2016 / Cut throat gymnast? Marisa always believed she could get Thema’s spot

Cut throat gymnast? Marisa always believed she could get Thema’s spot

On 9 November 2015, a letter was sent from the email address of Hannifer Dick, the mother of Trinidad and Tobago international gymnast Marisa Dick, to Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) second vice-president Ricardo Lue Shue.

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)

Marisa, according to the email, was “heartbroken” after discovering that was not selected to represent the TTGF at the Rio 2016 Olympic Test event.

“I wanted to let you know that Marisa is now aware that she was not chosen to go to the test event in Rio,” stated the email. “It was posted onto the TTOC website which Thema has shared. Marisa is heartbroken…

“I have tried to tell her that there is hope but at this point she does not feel like anyone is fighting for her.”

Marisa’s emotional response in itself was, arguably, surprising, since she knew that Thema Williams beat her by 18 places at the Glasgow 2015 World Championships. And, according to the contract both athletes signed before the competition, the best gymnast in Glasgow would represent Trinidad and Tobago in Rio.

The TTGF has never publicly contradicted that stance, regarding Williams’ right to represent her country.

So, one of the lingering mysteries of the gymnastics furore remains what was said in the upcoming weeks that led Marisa to tell a Canada news station, CBC, on 13 January 2016 that she still had a shot at the Rio Olympics. And it was “cut throat time.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnasts Thema Williams (right) and Marisa Dick pose for a photograph while sightseeing in Rio, after the Olympic Test event on 17 April 2016. (Courtesy Hannifer Dick)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnasts Thema Williams (right) and Marisa Dick pose for a photograph while sightseeing in Rio, after the Olympic Test event on 17 April 2016.
(Courtesy Hannifer Dick)

In the interview, Marisa spoke about her copyrighted move “The Marisa Dick.”

Interviewer: How did you come up with it?

Marisa Dick: My coach and I started working on it… I thought why not try this, it hasn’t been done before.

Interviewer: It amazes me that people are still coming up with things that haven’t been done before. You obviously knew people hadn’t done it, right?

Marisa Dick: There is a (…) book of all gymnastics skills and we went flipping through there and saw that it wasn’t in there. So we just went for it. I have to complete it in a World Championship or an Olympics. And from there on it gets valued… It is super cool just to know my name will live on in the gymnastics world.

Interestingly, the “Marisa Dick”, which was officially recognised after the Alberta-born gymnast executed the move at the October 2015 competition in Glasgow, looks similar to a mount done by another Canadian gymnast, Samantha Gourley, who was competing on the Alberta circuit at the same time as Marisa.

There is a video below of Marisa performing the move at the Commonwealth Games on 28 April 2014 and Gourley executing it in practice on 26 March 2014. It is uncertain which gymnast tried it first although, according to gymnastics rules, you can only be officially recognised for the move if it is executed at an international tournament of a particular stature.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymast Marisa Dick. (Copyright Christy Ann Linder)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymast Marisa Dick.
(Copyright Christy Ann Linder)

Editor’s Note: Click HERE to listen to Marisa Dick’s  cut throat comment for yourself.

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98 comments

  1. You people clearly know next to nothing about gymnastics. The “Marisa Dick” move that got credited at worlds is a switch split mount without a hand support….the gymnast enters the leap leading with one leg and then swings that leg back to reach a full split. The videos in this article are regular split mounts. Tons of gymnasts have done THAT before. They’re definitely not the same thing.

    Also, the TTGF made a huge error by orally telling the gymnasts that Worlds would determine who would compete in Rio, but no country anywhere operates that way. It was a rookie mistake made by a federation that doesn’t know much about gymnastic procedure. No one’s spot for anything is guaranteed based on one competition and doing well 6 months ago means nothing if you can’t perform at the same level today. 6 months ago, Williams beat Dick. As of the test event, Dick had had a better and more consistent showing. Any other country in the world would have sent Dick because she had the better shot at qualifying for the Olympics. It’s unfortunate that Williams didn’t make it but every single country competing in artistic gymnastics is leaving a litany of talented athletes behind. It sucks but that’s the nature of the sport…get acquainted with it before formulating more half-a**ed opinions.

    • Lasana Liburd

      Message from “you people”: First, oral contracts are binding by law. So you might know a bit about gymnastics but your legal knowledge is clearly lacking. No need to fret. There is Google to help you there.
      Second, it was not an oral contract. It was a written contract and we used snapshots and excerpts of such before on this very site. So the entire premise of your rant is faulty and vacuous.
      I would point you to the excerpt. But, frankly, anyone who doesn’t take the time to research the validity of an oral contract probably couldn’t be bothered to internalise new information.
      At the least, you should have learned something today. I’ve got my fingers crossed on that anyhow.
      Have a nice day Lacy. (I’ve tried to be ever so kind to you half-a**ed opinions here, eh)

    • “You people”????

    • LOL I bet you thought you did something there, didn’t you? Well….let me enlighten you. I actually do happen to know something about law. Oral contracts are binding by law, but saying, “If you win, I’ll do xyz” doesn’t qualify. There’s no consideration. Since you’re so smart, you should’ve noticed that Williams’ attorneys aren’t alleging that the TTGF breached the Athlete’s agreement by merely choosing Dick over Williams. With regard to that, they’re alleging that the TTGF acted in bad faith and violated principles of “natural law” because they can’t argue that the TTGF choosing Dick over Williams was a breach that violated any statutory legal standards, thus leaving no real recourse in the courts. It sucks but legally the TTGF was allowed to change its mind and the Agreement that the athletes signed DID NOT include a clause mandating that the winner at worlds compete at the test event. The specific breaches being alleged with regards to the written contract are: one, flawed dispute resolution procedures (which is a weak argument); and two, the clause stating that Williams could not be replaced for medical reasons without following certain procedures. They may be able to successfully argue THAT claim, but to say that they breached an “oral contract” is a misrepresentation because that’s not even being disputed in the lawsuit…..reason being, it can’t be. But even if it could have been, Williams’ attorneys should have filed a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order back in January preventing the TTGF from letting Dick compete because Williams would have been irreparably harmed by not being allowed to compete at the Test Event since the spots are nominative. That didn’t happen…either because her attorneys suck or because they would’ve lost so it wasn’t worth pursuing. Either way, that’s not being argued here, so demonizing Dick for something that was beyond her and Williams’ control is silly. And to my earlier point, no gymnastics federation anywhere guarantees spots for anything based on the results of one competition. The best gymnasts at a given time are the ones selected to compete. All reports are that Dick may have lost to Williams at Worlds, but she’s performed consistently since then and Williams has not because of injury, making Dick the more solid choice. You can argue conspiracy, but that’s typically how the sport works. Be mad at the TTGF for going back on their word, but spare us the pseudo-academic breakdown because you’re not qualified and you can’t give an unbiased assessment of the situation.

      Lastly, “you people” was in reference to those saying that Dick stole some other gymnast’s move and was just lucky enough to be the first to compete it at a World Championships. If you were otherwise unaware, Google isn’t a substitute for a law degree….and I happen to have one. Might want to ponder on that before you take to the internet again to give legal analysis based on what YOU read on Google. Instead of using Google to try to be a lawyer, you might want to use it to educate yourselves about gymnastics….you might want to compare what mount Dick did at WORLDS with whoever you think did it first instead of calling her a liar based on a video from two years ago.

      • Lasana Liburd

        They must serve drinks at whatever bar you passed. Lol.
        First thing, I never said the mounts were identical. I said they looked similar.
        Second, I told you there was a written contract, which makes a nonsense of your speech.
        Third, look up Trinidad and Tobago 2006 World Cup players versus TTFA at the Sport Dispute Resolution Panel in 2008. It was an oral contract. And the players won. Repeatedly. In London and Trinidad before about four different arbitrators and magistrates.
        So that’s it really. Let’s end here. Go do over your legal exams.

  2. THE MORE I HEAR………. First video I’m seeing of Ms. Dick…. The girl almost falls of the bar every time her feet leaves it…Unbelievable!!!!

  3. So Thema beat her by 18 places but she still thought it was her spot to get? Huh?

  4. The truth will always be revealed. Once a tied always a ****

  5. Cut throat time eh? How disgusting can the Dicks get. They are brhaving as though that spot was hers from the start. Smdh yes.