Home / Rio 2016 / FIG responds: Only Dick can go to Rio; refuses to verify accreditation timeline

FIG responds: Only Dick can go to Rio; refuses to verify accreditation timeline

FIG Secretary General André Gueisbuhler responded today on the controversial deselection of gymnast Thema Williams and accreditation of her alternate, Marisa Dick, for the Rio 2016 Olympic Test event on 17 April 2016.

Photo: FIG secretary general André Gueisbuhler.
Photo: FIG secretary general André Gueisbuhler.

And FIG’s response was identical, despite the specificity of the questions, to Wired868, Williams’ attorney Dr Emir Crowne and an unspecified number of citizen journalists and curious observers.

It was penned as though straight from the FIG’s legal department.

The FIG confirmed: Williams was registered, her place was taken by Dick, Dick qualified for the August Olympic Games, and the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) has until May 9 to confirm that it will send an athlete to Rio.

Most tellingly, the FIG considers that the “dispute between Thema Williams and the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) is an internal affair of Trinidad and Tobago, its legal and sports authorities.”

And “since the qualification place earned by Marisa Dick is nominative, no name change or replacement is possible.”

Dick, according to the FIG, is Trinidad and Tobago’s only legitimate choice.

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)

The stance is unlikely to have surprised Williams’ attorneys, Keith Scotland and Crowne, since the FIG might also be culpable in the furore.

According to FIG rules: “In the case of injuries or illness of any gymnast between the time of accreditation and 24 hours prior to the beginning of CI (Qualifications), the NF (national federation) is allowed to change any accreditation.

“The gymnast injured or ill must return his/her accreditation and another gymnast can be accredited. 24 hours prior to the beginning of CI, no new accreditations can be delivered. The 24 hour period is the one which precedes the start of the day of CI of the respective team/gymnast.”

The Rio Test event started on April 16 while the women’s artistic competition started at 9 am on April 17.

Williams told Wired868 that she returned her accreditation after 9.15 am on Saturday April 16. Dick, who was already at least nine hours into her dash to Rio by then, could not be accredited before that point.

But no medical certificate was given to FIG and Williams had not even visited the doctor yet, although it was clearly within the 24-hour period.

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)

Williams said she eventually saw a doctor before lunch and was cleared to compete, once authorised to do so by the TTGF.

So far, all indications are that this medical clearance was communicated verbally. That may become a legal issue at some point.

The FIG, so far, is not volunteering to get involved in the potential quagmire.

Williams’ attorneys suggested on Wednesday that they will petition the TTOC to have the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Tripartite Commission study Williams’ case while the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is another potential route.

Both bodies have jurisdiction over FIG and might force them to reveal timelines, despite their unwillingness to do so to date. It might be too late for Williams to expect help from the Tripartite Commission, though, as on April 26, the IOC body confirmed its list of gymnasts for the August Olympic Games.

For Williams, it remains a race against the clock.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams (centre) is flanked by (from left) Tots and Tumblers gymnastics club owner Annette Telfer and attorneys Keith Scotland, Dr Emir Crowne and Resa Ramjohn at a press conference on 27 April 2016 at the Virtus Chambers in Port of Spain. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams (centre) is flanked by (from left) Tots and Tumblers gymnastics club owner Annette Telfer and attorneys Keith Scotland, Dr Emir Crowne and Resa Ramjohn at a press conference on 27 April 2016 at the Virtus Chambers in Port of Spain.
(Courtesy Wired868)

(FIG Official Communication)

Considering number of requests and questions received from various stakeholders and the media from Trinidad and Tobago concerning the registration of the Women’s Artistic Gymnastics athletes Thema Williams and Marisa Dick at the Test Event (Last Olympic Qualification) in Rio de Janeiro and FIG’s qualification rules for the Olympic Games, FIG releases the following Statement:

1. The dispute between Thema Williams and the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation is an internal affair of Trinidad and Tobago, its legal and sports authorities.

2. We confirm that the initial registration of Thema Williams to participate at the Qualifying Event in Rio was duly made by the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation, respecting the FIG’s rules. The place was not nominative and the Federation therefore had the free choice to select and register at their discretion.

3. We confirm that the name change from Thema Williams to Marisa Dick was duly made by the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation, respecting the FIG’s rules (including time limits) which allow such a change.

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)

4. We confirm that Marisa Dick has successfully competed at the qualifying event in Rio and has obtained a nominative place to participate at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

5. This place must be confirmed by the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee as soon as possible, but no later than May 9, 2016. Failure to do so will result in the automatic invitation of the next best ranked All-Around athlete from the qualifying event in Rio (1st Reserve).

6. Since the qualification place earned by Marisa Dick is nominative, no name change or replacement is possible.

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.

Check Also

TTOC: Hockey coach, ‘Fido’ Francis, was wrong; Rocke can rejoin national team

“[The] initial decision by [Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Hockey Team hockey coach Glen ‘Fido’ …

130 comments

  1. No Thema No Olympics I say! Send Marisa home to Canada.

  2. Send no one. That should solve the issue.!!! This is so wrong on every front.

  3. Hear nah I’m just thinking. The amount of holes in this sordid affair..if the TTGF and dem actually get through to send Dick they will have earned Elite Status in corruption! Ah mean to have FIG eating out of yuh hand when we thinking this bobol is just local. If Lose Shue and dem GT….they could write a manual for other administrations to follow. This is why we must not let up the pressure. No 9 day wonder!

  4. Chelsea Dee the Minister of Sports CANNOT intervene. Check the guidelines for Olympic athletes. Governments cannot get involved.

  5. call it highway robbery .my heart bleeds for Thelma ,a grievous wrong has been done to her psyche the damage may be irreparable ,when and where is the next international gymnastics competition

  6. If FIG say she was accredited on time it would mean that long before Goddert’s letter was sent the TTGF had notified FIG of the change in athlete

  7. This is nexactly how all these international organizations operate as though they are a law onto themselves. That is why FIFA iis in such a hot mess now. Notice how they close ranks when their itegrity is questioned. I don’t expect anything to come out of this situation. The TTGF officials will escape with their wicked act

  8. So why hide the accreditation timeliness if everything was above board and legit?
    #Steups
    #DickMoves

  9. If so then no gymnast must go!

  10. No, the young lady from Azerbaijan can go!

  11. Trust me I Love Dick? but just not this one ?

  12. The TTOC’s decision must send an unequivocal succinct message to all T&T sports organizations that despite the fact that Marisa Dick’s & Thema Williams’ chances to win a medal or even place in the top 20 are nil, corruption, questionable decision-making, discrimination and favoritism will not be tolerated. All decision-making will be done in the spirit of the Olympics.

  13. Did alternates have to get accredited prior to the start of the test event?

  14. At this point, I would still like to get a timeline established between Coach Geddert’s email to the TTGF which was used as justification and either Marisa Dick’s and/or FIG notification from the TTGF that a switch was going to be made for the qualification event.. Seems like information any transparent organization should be able to provide..

  15. I think the TTOC will take all the time that they have at their disposal in order to examine all the facts they can obtain and in the spirit of Olympism which is friendship, solidarity and fair play, they will make their decision and stand by it no matter how popular/unpopular it may be and never forgetting that Olympism seeks to create respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.

  16. If nothing happens by the deadline, we just allow the time to pass

  17. FIG has already been compromise so I don’t want to hear from them..no Thema nobody..

  18. The people don’t want Dick, it’s that simple.

  19. Obviously the TTOC is not unanimous in how to deal with this and likely receiving tremendous pressure to rubber stamp the selection. That’s the only possible explanation for their lack of action thus far. CAS will end up having to rule on this.

    • Kendall your assumption is for various reasons unlikely, first and foremost i would assume if TTOC makes a move now there is no chance for Thema to get the slot back as it will go unrecoverable to the first reserve… i would think that CAS will only rule on a reinstatement as long as TTOC still “owns” the slot….

    • There has been no statement from the TTOC on their position. And do you really think pressure is not being brought to bear?

      I also don’t think that Thema’s road to Rio depends on Dick being disqualified and the spot going to an alternate. It hinges on whether FIG broke its procedues in removing Thema without proper documentation. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Dick will be barred. They could add an extra spot.

      Time will tell but I am not hopeful for anything other than a protracted legal squabble.

    • Kendall consider the posibility that K. Scotland has asked TTOC to do so… to help Themas case….

    • aside TTOC actually has made their position surprisingly clear…

    • Which is what Andreas? Has the TTOC issued a statement on their position that I missed?

    • Brians tweets as to his right to leave Marissa home…. he has no right to exchange her…. and he pointed out what rights he has….. thats pretty clear to me….

    • Your szenario of adding would be the Triparte Commission…. the deadline for that has passed so that is unlikely… the only option i see at this time is that CAS will strongarm FIG…

    • But Andreas – Brian’s personal views are one thing. My question is where does the TTOC as a body stand?

  20. I’ve already withdrawn my support and lost interest. If Thema can’t go as far as I am concerned Trinidad has no representative

  21. Her lawyers have to head to CAS immediately time running out…

    And what going on with the TTOC? Have their deliberations started?

  22. Expected response…world bodies dont pander to requests from “insignificants”

  23. not just the TTGF……….but ADMINISTRATORS in general !…….almost every National sporting body seems to work OVERTIME towards destroying our young athletes !

  24. It is all in the hands of the TTOC.

  25. ?. I think Thema has one other lifeline left. It’s not over yet.

  26. Steupsssss , what can the Minister of Sports do? What you expect the Minister to do ? Allyuh good Wii .

  27. That’s it, no gymnast goes to Rio!

  28. IMHO The TTOC very well knows that monkey business went on here and THEY are the ones who should be hell bent on getting at the truth of the matter. But this is TnT where justice is never served so Ms Dick may well go on to represent our Country but i hope she , her Mother, Mr Lue Shue and the other members of the TTGF sleep well at night knowing it’s because they screwed another athlete to get her there. But!! There’s an old saying ” what goes around comes around” and this ROT will never be forgotten and they will forever be known as that bunch of scamps and that’s putting it mildly because i don’t have court clothes.

  29. Where the hell is our MINISTER OF SPORTS? THIS IS A NATIONAL ISSUE!!!!! STOP BURYING YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND AND ACT NOW!!! #TEAMTHEMA.

  30. Total boycott.This must not stand.

  31. Azerbaijan !!!!! Azerbaijan !!!!! Azerbaijan !!!!!

  32. Once the whole truth comes out from FIG about the actual timelines of when and how Dick was accredited I think it would become pretty obvious that somebody high up at FIG (maybe someone’s biggest admirer??) smooth the way for her. You can only replace a gymnast within the 24hr deadline with an already accredited gymnast.

    “In the case of injuries or illness with medical certificate verified by the official FIG/LOC medical doctor of any gymnast between 24 hours prior to the beginning of CI and 60 min prior to CI or CIV,” states the FIG technical regulations, “any gymnast ***already accredited*** can be used as substitute by the NF.

    So it’s either they bumped off Thema’s name and put in Dick’s long before the 24 hours or somebody turned a blind eye as a friendly favour.

  33. I will not give up hope. #thema4rio2016

  34. Agreed feel the pinch too dishonesty does not pay at all

  35. That’s a good question from Chabeth. Does the fact that it’s it’s a nominative spot mean it can’t be changed even by CAS? Because this would mean that CAS have very limited powers. Which would be odd. Did FIG only put that there because they feel we dotish? We all know that from this point on its Dick or nobody. …..unless CAS rules in Thema’s favour.

    • I don’t think they believe we’re dotish at all. I think they’re responding based on where they are legally right now. Remember the first step is TTOC agreement to petition the tripartite committee which has not happened yet.

    • There has been only ONE business day since the direction was publicly announced. That announcement was made on the day given as the deadline for the TTGF to respond. The TTGF, through Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, has requested further time. Which is fine, but the legal team proceeded to announce their intended course of action publicly anyway. I do not expect that details of he process re TTOC will be publicly revealed until there is a decision.

  36. So the inference here is that FIG had to have bent its own rules in order to allow accreditation to MD. Or in the alternative, while everyone thought Dick was in transit, she was actually already there and almost immediately after Thema returned her accreditation it was then passed to Dick? What in the dark will come out. We may find out that this runs deeper than just the TTGF. One thing is clear they are all disgusting people from mother and athlete right down to TTGF and possibly inside FIG as well. Keep digging Lasana!!!!

  37. First comes the form letter…

  38. There’s precedence for replacing an athlete who earned a nominative spot. Either by the IOC or CAS?

    • I believe that some of the overturns were nominative, as far as i know its the Ad Hoc Division at CAS dealing with that….

    • CAS can do almost anything… lol

    • question is whether the IF follows it… remember at the end it is Arbitration…

    • I’d find it strange if CAS took away a nominative spot from an athlete and gave it to another. Because there’s absolutely no way to know if the other athlete would have scored as well.
      I’m not speaking specifically about this mess with the TTGF, I mean in general.
      And a lot of individual events provide nominative spots for the Olympics. It would be like track and field athlete with another without knowing if the replacement athlete can run the even within the qualifying time or throw the apparatus to the minimum qualifying distance (if that’s even a thing in track and field)

    • To be honest, you may be right with that concern, i tried to look up past cases, but the way they have their database its hard to tell whether such a case was before. Dont want to go into too many details how i would counter that argument, but there is a logical chain to counter argue that concern…. at the end we are not lawyers (at least me) so who knows how that will pan out…. i have a feeling though that Thema has a good chance at CAS…. but it is not the Ad Hoc Division, they only convene 10 Days ahead of the Olympics…

  39. Essentially, the FIG doesn’t have the final say on this matter. So for 96.1 on anyone else to say otherwise means they were not paying close attention.
    It is the IOC and CAS who will decide whether there is enough evidence to justify overturning FIG’s position.

  40. I’m confused as to why this was not understood in the 1st place……

  41. Jeremy Francis, the 96.1 release is wrong. Careful where you go for sport analysis.

  42. So Azerbaijan all the way….

  43. Well given that I guess we will be unrepresented. Because as far as I am concerned Dick cannot go given the unethical means she and her handlers used to get her there.