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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  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.

  6. The more this unfolds the more disgusted I get, just when you think it couldn’t get worse it does

  7. No it is not him. If you watch to the end, it looks like a white guy with the same bald head from the beginning.

  8. Sam Gourley’s mount was well executed. Marissa’s Dick mount was shaky, very spotty and needs urgent attention.

  9. I still say find out when was her plane ticket bought and by whom!

  10. And while we asked who will be the third how bout an expert who is knows the gymnastics and not just how good the person is but the entire sport

  11. Exactly!
    I always wondered how come people didn’t zero in on that very “telling” comment made by Ms. Dick? It sounded that she very blatantly or maybe even subliminally articulated the very real perspective she had on having to secure her place at the Olympics against Thema.

  12. That girl is a piece of work. She sounds like a Trini politician re that move by continuously referencing that moves manual or whatever they call it and not seeing it there. Bottom line is she did not invent that the move but was the first to have it patented for want of a better term. Dishonest!

  13. Dennis Allen Hahaha. Eagle eyes there fellah! Looks like it.

  14. She is ah lil nastiness!!! She musse get dat from she mother!

  15. is that Ricardo Lue Shue moving the springboard at the start of https://youtu.be/-4M0nfUkPTQ

  16. a well calculated ambush,planned with stealth and guile,executed in total secrecy .better an any alistair maclean’s novel’s, to mention

  17. all in JAN Dick is talking about qualifying for Rio. So clearly she was told that the Glasgow event wasnt the final selection.

  18. Your name will live on in gymnastics Marisa DicK but believe me it won’t be for that move

  19. Assuming the other athlete performed it first one month before, the endorsement comes with performance at a particular level of competition. Marissa beat the girl to the punch. It’s like registration of land or patents…you snooze you lose. Perfectly within the rules of the game. Of course it is an irresistible opportunity to throw more wood on the fire.

  20. It seems Marisa doesn’t understand the meaning of “NO”… Judging from the mother’s responses to Marisa not being qualified to take part in the Olympics, the mother made it seem like her daughter was somehow wronged and emotionally hurt and thus the only thing to make her happy again is to pull strings and allow her to be the chosen athlete for the Olympics. Hannifer Dick, you selfish woman! You are pleasing yourself because you do not want your daughter to throw a tantrum. The

  21. Cut throat or more like Dick in we throat ?!?!

  22. Oh SNAP!


    Sure she performed the mount at Worlds so the move was named after her. Fair enough. But she trained with Sam at Capital City, and it’s been done even before, so why is she acting like she just pulled it out of a book or invented it?

    Oh I know, maybe it’s because Marisa and her coach desperately have to rely on smoke and mirrors.

    Thema has integrity and talent to back herself up. And like John Geddart said, he’s “already been to the Olympics”

  23. Dick said she kept the the move a secret until the 2015 world championship so that no one could steal it,http://globalnews.ca/news/2498421/watch-the-marisa-dick-move-officially-named-after-canadian-gymnast/

  24. Has ever watched gymnastics before the fiasco? Instead of just the I deserve it speeches how bout showing why you deserve it. Actions speaks louder that words

  25. Seems like every week we learn something new about the Dicks?

  26. What does the Minister of Sport know about gymnastics to judge a competition?

  27. I know a way Thema and Marisa can earn that one spot without lawyers or federation interference. A face off, both go head to head. No excuses No complaining to TTGF, no court room and the judges are the TTOC and the minister of Sports

  28. Looks like ‘cut throat’ start long time!

  29. She said she looked through the book n the move wasn’t there…but the move was performed by her fellow Canadian gymnast the year bfr? Hard to believe she wasn’t aware of it..*squints*

  30. She’s doing it jumping from two feet here. In the interview she says she starts from one… So maybe that’s the big difference that lets her get it named after her…


    • Nah. The criteria seems to be where the move is done. It had to be World Championship and Olympics. Not sure about one or two legs. But even if she did it with one leg here, it would not have counted.

    • I meant maybe she “upgraded” it to a one foot move to have greater “exclusivity” on it since Samantha had done the two footed version.

    • Well, she certainly didn’t offer an explanation. And she could not have failed to notice that another gymnast in her region was doing it too.
      I don’t if the trained together at the same club as has been suggested. But they would have trained and competed against each other at meets.
      Even if other girl did it earlier, Marisa doesn’t have anything to be insecure about because she got to go to the World Championship and do it and I’m guessing Samantha didn’t.
      So it would have been nice if she acknowledged that.

    • Lol. This discussion was had on another thread and it was said that they trained at the same gym.
      Gymnasts do not choreograph their own routines.
      They may have even been other gymnasts in the gym doing the mount as well.
      I am sure that this is not the only gym where coaches have their gymnasts doing the same mount or dismount.
      But the videos show they both did it in 2014. Who’s to say Marisa wasn’t practicing it first and Samantha just performed it in competition first?

    • But then again… There’s that whole thing about gymnastic culture of which neither of us is an expert. Lol ?

    • That’s fine. She could have mentioned that then. It wasn’t a secret because there is a video. So I’d have mentioned it and explained.
      Like I said, it isn’t a crime if the other girl was doing it first. Her hard luck she didn’t have a T&T passport and relatively easier path to a World Championship.
      The problem only comes when people give you the impression they are trying to manipulate facts.

    • I don’t think there’s enough evidence to suggest that Marisa manipulated the facts with respect to this particular move.

    • Maybe. But i find it hard to believe she didn’t know about Sam Gourley. She could have mentioned it. Not a crime that she didn’t. But it would have been the noble route to me. Just my opinion.

    • Like the dash down the highway of death.

    • That she didn’t know what about Sam Gourley? There’s no evidence to suggest that Sam was doing the move first. All we have is two videos. We don’t know that Marisa didn’t do it first.
      But even so… In the video they’re both starting the move from a two footed position. The “Marisa Dick” starts from a one footed position. So it’s legally a different move.
      If someone does a backflip with two hands touching the ground and someone else comes along and does it with one hand touching the ground, the latter is supposed to talk about the former’s two handed back flip.
      Make no mistake about my position on Marisa… I’ve been criticizing her openly since February… But I don’t think people should have to accept more blame for something than is theirs to accept and when u hear people talking about she stole the move… It just makes me smfh. There’s no evidence to suggest that.

    • The dash down the highway of death was storytelling at its worse…
      I mean the kind of story telling that’s so outrageous you’d get licks before you could even finish telling the story…

    • Well, I can’t speak to the finer details of the one foot or two foot leap. So maybe you’re right there. All I see as the special move is the mount. Nuff said anyway.
      I can’t prove anymore. And it is true that someone being guilty in one instant doesn’t make them guilty in all.
      Even though it naturally increases suspicion.

    • Maybe I’m right? Lol.
      Steups… You’re a slow learner yes… ??

  31. Lawd…it gets better and better.

  32. The behavior of all concerned is beyond bizarre and they must all be made to face the consequences of their actions. Including the overseas participants who were given leeway to put their mouth in Trinidad business. The Canadian coach was especially fast and out a place to want to dictate how the selection process was to be carried out.

  33. Shaka wrote a whole article about foreign born and foreign based athletes. More people liked the article than challenged him on it. I was one of a handful of people who did and now everybody want to talk about Marisa from Canada and shouldn’t represent us….
    I read this chick since February while other ppl were swooning over the fact that she could mount a beam in a split position.

  34. We’ll need hashtags just now for teams like Captain America Civil War #teamcap btw #teamthema

  35. What was the name again? Some Georgette something? And her daughter? Smh

  36. I was the one calling her out for her Canada photo and her cut throat comments when people were telling me I should be glad she wants to represent us

  37. You sounding like a Dick apologist Chabeth

  38. Marisa sells herself out in the CBC interview. Imagine this “cut throat” interview was after Thema had already earned the Rio Test Event spot on merit of a superior performance and placing at the World Championship!

  39. This isn’t going to make anyone switch teams but I does help us to put some colour on Marissa’s character

  40. Scotty Ranking

    This saga reminds me of that reality show “Toddlers and Tiaras” where we get to see pageant moms at their ‘best’. Hannifer and Marisa would blend right in!

  41. …setting us up for another round of revelations…..hotter and hotter we get….

  42. And we know a lot about who sent the topless photo of Thema given that they held on to it for however long…
    So why this is surprising to anybody is beyond me…

  43. More and more, I feel we know who sent the topless photo of Thema….

  44. I really can’t understand why any of this is surprising when we knew since February that she said it was cutthroat time…

  45. A little bit again and Dick would have gone Tanya Harding on Thema….what is wrong with these people?!

  46. This young lady comes over as manipulative and cunning, both her and her mother…but the TTGF has thus far, displayed such blatant nepotism and bias I cannot help but wait anxiously to see what theTTOC’s decision will be in this matter…in the meanwhile we cannot let this rest…