Letter to the Editor: Don’t question my patriotism because I dislike Dick move

The following Letter to the Editor, in response to the furore over the controversial selection of Canada-born gymnast Marisa Dick ahead of Thema Williams, was written by the parent of a national athlete in another sport, who chose to remain anonymous:

Since the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) debacle, I have made my comments and feelings known from time to time. However today I draw the line at citizens living outside of Trinidad and Tobago trying to question those of us who actually reside here about patriotism. Really?

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago's Marisa Dick goes through her routine on the balance beam at the Rio Olympic Games on 7 August 2016. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s Marisa Dick goes through her routine on the balance beam at the Rio Olympic Games on 7 August 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

The TTGF screwed up royally but what do we expect of associations made up of parents, well-wishers and amateurs? Of course they are going to play favourites.

Our children stay here and fight up with the lack of proper facilities, funding and support from the powers that be and succeed in spite of all that is thrown at them.

All the TTGF bacchanal did was to bring in to the clear light of day all the favouritism, nepotism and corruption that we live with day to day in its ugly glory.

I am really sorry, parents abroad, but ‘No!’ we will not be the last resort for your ambitions. Why is it okay for your offspring to have two choices and those of us who choose to stay here and build this country to have one?!

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against kids of TT Nationals who can really make a  difference trying out for teams. But you cannot just usurp, what rightly and justifiably belongs to the kids that train here.

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)

A clear policy for children born born outside of the country to Trinidad and Tobago Nationals and who want to represent the Republic must be articulated and put into place going forward.

Time for this to stop. You may not bring athletes training in first-world facilities—who are, at best, mediocre—to take the place of our locally trained athletes of the same standard who train in woefully inadequate facilities. This essentially renders the local athletes’ efforts useless.

The behaviour of the TTGF, Hannifer Dick and the Canadian coach are all suspect and they should be ashamed of themselves for what they have put the country and the athletes through.

In conclusion, to my fellow country men and women at home and abroad, who have a problem with those of us who refused to support the behaviour of the TTGF and, by extension, the representative sent on our collective behalf to Rio:

It is a simple matter of principal and sportsmanship. You should not take nor acquire what is not yours under false pretences.

Do not question my love of country simply because we disagree.

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)
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  1. Dick’s signature move representing TT in Rio was falling orf de bar. Twice. It’s what happens when due process isn’t followed. You end up with a Dick. o.O #truestory #thewrongsideofhistory #shewasnotready #awannabe #wherewasthetalent #eggonTTGFfaces

  2. Please fellow Trinbagonians do not condemn Marisa Dick. She is the innocent victim here. Remember she did not select herself. The governing body for gymnastics is the culprit.

  3. Agreed…I also think that with Dick wrongfully chosen to go Rio, upset the ‘CHI’,’DE SYNERGY’,DE REAL VIBES of the whole olympic team that nothing went right for any of our athletes, is like Dick, she ‘BLIGHT” that whole team.

  4. This entire move and all the confusion and deception has put a dark cloud over all our athletes hard efforts. Check it.

  5. I understand the emotions of the parent in this letter because we have a culture of foreign is better than local; I see it with KFC, Popeye’s, Church’s, Starbucks, TGIF, Ruby Tuesday, etc which poison our bodies. I think these foreign invaders are of great concern.

    I also see a culture of racism where lighter skin and softer hair is better than African features; I see this in priorities for sport funding, athlete selection and corporate hiring. Of greater concern especially in our corporate culture.

    There are some assumptions the parent makes about foreign nationals and born nationals that need consideration. The Trinidad version of the Trump “birther” argument is extremely flawed. Before, we speak about foreign vs. local; please deal with north vs. south; east vs. west. NAPS vs. Prez. So much of the selection is based on what school, club, organization and who your father is in Trinidad that you need not worry about the foreigner vs. local. Often the selection is already watered down with local bias, nepotism and favoritism before the foreign player arrives. I would contend that their are many foreign players that are left off because the local bias already get certain slots. Often I have spoken with LOCAL players and parents that are shocked certain players from foreign were not selected but they know the local politics.

    The assumption that foreign athletes are playing in plush facilities and able to develop without the challenges is naive. Most foreign athletes experience an extreme level of discrimination and racism in UK and USA while participating in sports as youth and professional. I would suggest that that abuse for some becomes a motivator for their excellence and for them to play for the countries of their parents or grand parents.

    I would suggest that we as TNT nationals leave our doors and windows open to all that are eligible and worthy. No free passes for anyone, local nor foreign. We need each other; foreign and local to achieve our goals; success is not possible if we divide ourselves.

  6. Lasana The issue is that the IOC was under the impression that using Citizenship as criteria they will be safe assuming that countries wont mess with that, who thought of some countries actually going and shop around for Athletes. I would expect that very soon (in Olympic measures that means within 8 Years) there will be significant changes in the nationality rules….. like the ban time after a switch will increase, athlete has to live in the country and other stuff, but don’t forget all of that will also affect some legit notions as ineligible. For example: Jason Wilson, who did the mens Triathlon for Barbados would never have managed to qualify if he hadn’t lived in Canada in a HP center for the past few Years…..

  7. Kind of like how much “Manning stroking” we had to endure just because he croaked. Rest in peace my a$$. I can love my country and slam Marissa as hard as I want. Just watch.

  8. Well said… It has everything to do with patriotism you can’t cheat a born national out of their rightful place and think it’s patriotic….

  9. The TTGF grabbed up what Canada did not want. How are we any better off for it. The TTGF allowed this country to be used and then discarded. Shame on you. A policy is definitely needed since decisions should not be influenced by friendships but by sound and sensible reasoning.

  10. I love the picture with these 2 youth.those who nourish hatred prepare to eat the fruit.

  11. Why we still talking bout this girl …..??

  12. has nothing to do with patriotism, it has to do with CONTROVERSY and MALICIOUSNESS and THIEFING ….. HAS NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH NOT SUPPORTING TRINIDAD….. steups

  13. I totally agree with this letter… there should b better stricter policies in place that ensures our Trinbagonian born athletes selection before others who just have roots here… in this letter all she’s saying that its not fair that athletes who can have dual citizenship who are rejected by their country of birth/choice get chosen over our athletes… especially when our athletes maybe better skilled than they (as in the case with Marisa Dick & Thema Williams) if interest 2 represent Trinidad & Tobago is their 1st choice then no problem but we don’t want any “2nd class love”???

  14. Sometimes we think because it come from foreign it’s automatically better. It could be doo doo gift wrapped…it better…

  15. Perfectly articulated. Well said, could not have said it better.

  16. Dennis Allen another thing the parent did not mention, 100% of the times these trinis decide to come home and represent it is because they could not make it on the team of the country they reside in. It may sound bad but we all know its true. i fully agree with all what the parent said. If people of this country felt Marisa was innocent in this they would have supported her but she seem to have a hand in it somehow, she never seemed genuine….And MOMMY DEAREST…hmm

  17. sigh.
    people really just do not get it. plain and simple: Miss Lady Who Wrote This LEtter…you, mam, with all due respect, are part of the problem why we are still struggling to raise the TTO flag in a consistent way in international sport events.

    • two main reasons:
      #1 T&T is years—if not decades—behind in development in most major sports. Talent identification usually involves whose mommy and daddy push them into a sport. I challenge anyone to show me an athlete “recruited” by a legit recruitment process. We, therefore, have to depend on “foreign-used, roll-on roll-off” athletes to fill our squads.
      #2 Define “mediocre”. By this argument presented here—after the Olympics, mind you—athletes have to be medal contenders to be considered for TeamTTO? Are our home-grown, intrinsic, native athletes medal contenders? How do we expect to attract top foreign athletes? Look at Bahrain: money talks. How we going to pull people off top-performing teams and give them a TTO kit? Is that a realistic expectation?
      to cut the smalls—no, it’s not realistic.
      We have two realities here that the rules allow us a back door: recruiting foreigners to our teams.
      So far T&T has limited the selection to people with a T&T extraction. But let’s imagine ourselves in another boom—are we going to use that patrimony to buy a Biles like a B-Mo topup till we get a medal?

    • I’d say that a foreign-born player who wants to contribute is a good thing. But I’d say that athlete would have to be better than the local player otherwise I think some points she raised are valid.
      In the case of gymnastics, Marisa Dick was not better than Thema Williams as proven by the solitary score that was used to judge.
      If Marisa was better in Glasgow, then I’d be fine if she represented us ahead of Thema.
      Here’s the thing though Dennis Allen.
      If the foreign-born athlete and local-born athlete make exactly the same score, I’d say send the local athlete. And I’d make that decision based on some of the points raised in the letter.

    • Dennis, according to this mother, our contingent should be smaller…sigh is right…she was all over the place..

    • Case in point: Chris Birchall.
      Was Birchall in contention to rep for ENG? By all rights he fits the descriptions in the letter above. However, would that be an accurate portrayal of Birchall’s talents and what he brought to the Soca Warriors?

    • Lasana Liburd i totally agree.
      The Marisa Dick situation is not typical of the process of recruiting foreigners though. it cannot be the benchmark.

    • something to ponder:
      after three events, was Marisa so far off her T&T-born compatriot? Or was it when she buss on her last apparatus that her performance came apart in such a catastrophic failure?
      Let’s play devil’s advocate here: Would Marisa have performed better had she been getting overwhelmingly positive support from the fans at home?

    • The composition of a football team is down to the opinion of the coach though. That makes that one so tricky.
      Birchall pulled his weight and contributed and that is what matters.

    • yes! but if this mommy was picking that team—he wouldah stayed home! Just by her definition!

    • Dennis, Marisa has never performed at the level that Thema did in Glasgow at any FIG meet in her life.
      And Thema put that score up after one year’s training in the type of facilities that Marisa spent her whole life in.
      So I don’t need to speculate there.

    • So I certainly don’t buy the argument that trinis affected Marisa’s performance. She was just a little below her usual standard. But her best standard was below Thema anyway.

    • I’d never say foreign born players shouldn’t be selected though. I can’t wait to see John Bostock in national colors for instance.

    • and I agree with you on that full hundred—had Thema been out there for a properly planned Olympic cycle, then we would have seen a much more polished athlete.
      But isn’t that endorsing what im saying about talent identification? where is the process in Thema going to camp with Twistars with Geddart? How did that come to pass? Was that a TTGF plan for the development of our home-grown Olympian?

    • The TTGF had nothing to do with Thema joining Twistars as far as I am aware. And there are emails which show they didn’t believe in her, didn’t like her and couldn’t wait for her to “retire”.

    • Dennis, if I look at it from your view we would never grow in anything. Today I have seen improvement of many of our athletes, I agree with some aspects of what she has said, clear and concise guidelines will give all the opportunity to represent Trinidad and Tobago and by so doing also protect and give the TNT born and bred individuals their just due, But your argument that Trinis affected Marissa’s performance is hogwash.. then better you say that about Gabby Douglas.

    • the TTGF played a gamble and lost.
      plain talk, bad manners.
      on her worst day, Thema was gonna throw up a 49.
      But her best day was ten point better than that.
      Marisa was supposed to be the “safety” bet—a consistent athlete with a 5+ potential upside
      that bet blew up in their faces

    • Gabby won the all-around in London2012
      She came 3rd in her team in 2016
      You stay dey and feel the trash talking didnt affect her mentally

    • But that “bet” was in violation of the rules. It wasn’t their decision to make. They made a decision on selection criteria and then broke it. I don’t think it is justifiable to say they felt Marisa would do better.

    • I feel sad for Marisa Dick if people justifiably discussing the fact that she benefitted from an illegal action might have distracted her. Poor thing.
      Thema Williams has had stuff on her mind too though. With the having her place taken from her in the middle of the night thing…

    • Lasana…we both know i ain defending the TTGF here. That position was injustice.
      im here to address the issues i identified in this mommy’s letter to the editor.

    • I am also not positioning myself against “TeamThema” either.
      Injustice is injustice.
      But hear what: We had an athlete in Rio….so wah we was supposed to do? Throw her under the bus?
      I refuse to do that

    • Right. No problem Dennis. My opinion is we should not try to discourage athletes from representing Trinidad and Tobago once they can contribute, even if they were not born here.
      And that includes Marisa Dick. I’ve no problem with Marisa representing T&T in the future if she passes the selection criteria fairly.

    • I can understand someone who says they are representing anyone in national colours regardless. And I can understand someone who says they refuse to legitimise an injustice by supporting it in any fashion.
      Up to the ideology of the person in question.

    • EXACTLY!
      and i also say don’t toss the Lue Shues under the bus for taking a position that is quite common in the world of gymnastics with country spots.
      case in point: Belarus:

    • Dennis, who is mad at the Lue Shues for “bringing an elite gymnast” to Trinidad?

    • The Kylie Dickson case has absolutely nothing to do with the TTGF saga. To say that is really wrong.
      Marisa Dick represented T&T before without a peep from Thema Williams and her supporters.
      The problem is that she was stripped of what she earned in contentious circumstance. Nothing more.

    • tell that to the two born Belarus gymnasts that got kicked off the team in Glasgow for the two Yanks…
      at least Marisa mother was born here.
      them two Yanks had no connections whatsoever.

    • It is a matter of selection criteria for the tournament being breached. Nothing more. The country would not be up in arms because Khaleem Hyland get benched for John Bostock.
      That’s missing the point totally. Check the lawsuit against the TTGF which spells it out pretty well.

    • like i said…this is not about Marisa v Thema v TTGF…this is about the points raised by moms here in this letter.
      i have very well-established positions on the court matter.
      like i said: injustice
      but certainly not in a vacuum

    • Ok. I will have to read over the letter.

    • Exactly….nobody is saying no way to Dick at any time – they said no way in hell to Dick this time precisely because she did not qualify….if you don’t qualify, you should not get to represent…no matter how many Dick moves you come up with…until of course they change the criteria for selection! >>Lasana : “Marisa Dick represented T&T before without a peep from Thema Williams and her supporters.
      The problem is that she [Thema] was stripped of what she earned in contentious circumstance.”

    • Because decisions taken by Associations or Federations are quite common doesn’t mean they are right and should be swept under the table, with thinking like that, that’s why we will never grow..

      • Precisely, Dawn. Two wrongs do not make a right. And the fact that other people get away with it is no justification for perpetrating a clear wrong on any athlete.

        And on the substantive issue, I am not afraid or ashamed to say that my entire household was sending bad vibes Marisa’s way from start to finish. And I certainly have no regrets if those bad vibes affected her.

        If you feel doing wrong is fair, then you have to feel fear for doing wrong.

        Nuff said.

    • First of all, they are not foreigners. They have TT passports. They are citizens and are entitled to all rights that come with That. Also, we keep forgetting Thema’s coach handed the TTGF board a smoking gun with that medical report before she was pulled from contention. He gave the board every right to pull Thema. TT has never had a gymnast qualify for the Olympics and now all of a sudden they had two for contention. Why take a chance on the one that was injured? The TTGF board handled this matter poorly but Marisa Dick did what any athlete would have done after having a rival pulled from contention after a damning medical report. This foreign and local athlete argument is so backward that I won’t even start. Which high performing athlete would choose representing TT over USA, Canada or England? Only Ato Boldon was that crazy and I’m sure late at night in his quiet moments he sometimes regrets it.

    • Brian Manning, don’t forget that there were emails showing that Marisa Dick’s mother was putting pressure on the TTGF to have her daughter selected ahead of Thema Williams, despite the selection criteria.
      That cannot be ignored when discussing the matter. And it forms part of Thema Williams’ legal case.
      Only when you look at ALL the evidence can you say whether or not Marisa did what any other athlete would do. And I don’t think that is the case.
      As a parent, I would never ever do what Hannifer did by writing emails to the association asking that my child gets someone else’s spot in such an unjust manner.

    • Agreed. Which parent wouldn’t do that? I’ve been a part of division 1 NCAA programs and one of the biggest sources of frustration is parents wanting their children to get more playing time. The parents of the last player on the squad thinks he’s a star. That’s how parents go. The board, under pressure, then reverses its decision and reinstates Thema. Great. Then Thema heads to the qualifier and injured herself. Her coach reports that she was injured and could barely walk. Giving the board every right to pull her. Marisa gets the word from the board that Thema is injured and is being replaced. What should she have done? The TTGF board was incompetent and ridiculous but Merisa is not to blame here and I believe that even the courts will find the TTGF board not guilty of wrong doing. What they did was well within their rights as biased as it may seem.

    • If Thema was healthy enough to compete then her coach had no business saying otherwise in a report to the very TTGF that had shown bias against Thema in the past.

    • Which parent wouldn’t do that? Would you do that Brian? Would your parents have done that for you as a boy?
      I’m sure there are some parents who would. And there are some athletes who would take performance enhancing drugs. And some people who steal.
      Doesn’t make it right.
      I’m not going to justify Marisa Dick’s mom writing and asking the TTGF to steal something for her daughter. And her email suggested that Marisa was fully aware and was wondering why they were delaying in doing the nasty deed.

    • That’s an excuse Brian. The TTGF said Marisa was injured at the Glasgow games. A worse injury. And the Jamaican who beat Marisa in Rio had her knee bandaged at the time.
      In fact, Marisa performed better when she was supposedly injured in Glasgow than when she was healthy.
      I find that stuff to just be an excuse for poor behaviour.

    • You are missing the point. There is nothing illegal about Marisa mother writing the TTGF. It is clear in my mind that the initial replacement of Thema by Marisa was rife with bias. After public outcry Thema was reinstated. Negating the biased decision by making Thema whole. Thema then heads off to the qualifier and he coach reports her injured. Giving the TTGF all it needs to legitimately pull her from the qualifier. Where is the illegality? You may not like the decision but they had the right to make it. The TTGF board had to go. There was no coming back from the initial biased decision but did they act illegally? That’s a stretch.

    • And Heaven forbid that this comes down to an interpretation of the TTGF’s Constitution because most NSOs guiding documents aren’t even worth the paper they are written on.

    • Well, Thema’s attorney’s have said that the TTGF violated its fiducial responsibility, so we will see if that is a stretch. And the word I used was unjust Brian Manning.
      But what you said was “but Marisa Dick did what any athlete would have done…”
      And that is what I objected to. There are many athletes out there with no scruples who would do worse. But I don’t think Marisa simply did what any athlete would have done at all.
      I think that is potentially trivialising a very traumatic episode in our sporting history.

    • What else would Thema’s attorneys say about their own client? Most attorneys wouldn’t go near a litigation matter involving an NSO because none of them have any money. Why would Thema’s attorneys go near this one? Win or lose the lawyers win.

      Marisa got a call saying Thema was injured and she was her rightful replacement. Was she going to say no? No way. Again, I believe there was clear bias shown toward Marisa initially for whatever reason but this matter is now before the courts and I don’t see where the illegality arises.

    • Martin Daly SC is representing Thema pro bono, Brian Manning. I’m not sure what you might be implying about his motives there.
      Again, this case is not only about what happened on April 17. But the buildup to that including emails from Marisa’s mother.
      Do you know why you never say Thema’s family on television celebrating when the TTGF said it would send Thema? Because they knew better than that.
      You are looking at what happened on the day of the “crime” and ignoring evidence that the “crime” was being planned months earlier.
      So be it. But I will not take Marisa’s behaviour on April 15-17 alone. I’m looking at her behaviour from ever when Thema correctly earned her spot in Rio and Marisa said it was “cut throat” time.

    • I completely agree. They wrongfully replaced Thema with Marisa and reneged on that decision after public outcry. What now? Then Thema goes to a qualifier and is injured. Her coach sends a report to the same biased TTGF board stating that she is injured. Does the TTGF not have the right under their Constitution to replace an injured athlete? Especially when her own coach reports her injured? Of course they do. The coach gave them all the ammunition they needed. What now? Where is the illegality in replacing an injured athlete?

    • There is a procedure to be followed in announcing that an athlete is injured. Just like there is a procedure to be followed for you to be allowed to use a sick day.
      I suspect you know this already Brian Manning.

    • What the TTGF wants to do is hinge everything on a solitary email and avoid everything else include their own written contract with Thema.
      As I said, I don’t believe that Martin Daly SC is crazy when he sees a case here. And, despite your suggestion, he wasn’t paid to say so either.

    • So we will see. But I obviously disagree with you quite emphatically on this one. Like we would need Jessie May to mediate! Lol.

    • Lasana Liburd I never said anything about payment. In fact, I stated that NSOs do not have any money. This is a high profile case. If it were not the attorneys wouldn’t care. Not all compensation is in dollars and cents.

    • I totally understand your point of view. I am stating that all the TTOC attorneys also would have gone over this matter carefully to protect themselves from litigation. They came back with the verdict that they believed best protected them which was to endorse the TTGF’s decision. That is quite telling in my opinion.

    • I do believe the TTGF’s decision to be quite telling. Not necessarily in the way you suggest. But that still doesn’t impact on Thema’s case.
      You stated the NSO’s have no money. But you also suggested it was a win win for the lawyers.
      To be honest, your statement that you couldn’t understand why the attorneys would go near this case as NSOs have no money is a more than a bit odd.
      Because they are suing the administrators in their private capacity.
      Is it that you were not following the case closely?

    • Lasana Liburd there are many injustices in The world. If this were not a high profile matter SCs wouldn’t go near it. That is just a fact. Anand Ramlogan wasn’t representing everyone who wanted to sue the state because it didn’t get his name in the paper.

    • It is not a fact at all Brian Manning. And I would not equate Martin Daly with Anand Ramlogan. It is your belief that Daly wants the free publicity. That isn’t my belief at all.
      I’ve answered you as best as I can on every point you reason. Beyond this, we will see what the courts decide.
      And, as I said, we disagree quite emphatically on so much regarding this case.
      I won’t use the TTOC’s decision as a benchmark at all. Let’s see what happens next. But I hope you remember this conversation.

    • Lasana Liburd all parents do that i can attest to that and have to agree with Brian, without that email from Geddert she would have weathered all trhe TTGF attempts, he put the nail in her coffin and given the level he is working at he should have known….

    • No Andreas. I played sport and so did my family. My sister is still a national hockey player.
      All parents do NOT do that. That would be all the parents that you and Brian know.

    • Unless Merisa’s mother is a trained hit man I don’t know why the TTGF should have felt pressured by any of her e mails. She is free to send all the e nails she wants. The TTGF was free to ignore her. If you talk to the principal of any prestige school in Trinidad and Tobago it would blow your mind the lengths parents will go to to give their children the best chance at being successful. Again, the TTGF board was biased against Thema. Just not in their decision to remove her after receiving a damning report from her own coach. That is the decision that she is challenging in court. The IOC accepted and confirmed the procedure used to replace her and allowed Merisa to compete. It is going to come down to if the decision to remove Thema was reasonable based on the report the TTGF received from her coach. Mark my words.

    • I went to a prestige school Brian Manning. I didn’t have strings. Nobody made a phone call for me.
      I think we might be looking at this from a different social angle. Maybe I am from a different part of Trinidad.
      I have played sport and come from a sporting family. So it is a lifetime of sport. And that is not commonplace from my decades of experience.
      So your experience is not mine. Say that is what you see. But don’t say that is what it is. It is only your experience.

    • Lasana Liburd, my mother is a former Min of Education. As soon as the SEA results came out every year you had to almost go into hiding from parents who wanted recommendations for transfers. Parents line up for days to get their children into Man U’s youth program so they have the chance to become professionals. This is not unusual. I am not saying that I agree with that type of behaviour but it isn’t unusual.

      • You have a point Mr Manning, but many parents are fair and teach their children to be fair. My daughter was considered brilliant, but was placed at Arima Secondary School. Everyone who knew her ability said she was cheated, but I never told her that. I got her registered at Arima Secondary School. The Principal of Arima Secondary later said my daughter was brilliant and recommended her to St. Joseph Convent, St. Joseph to do A’ Levels. She earned one of the merit additional scholarships in Math, Physics, Further Mathematics (which she declined in favour of a full scholarship to MIT in the USA, which was her preferred university).

        Note that I did not try to get her into a school place elsewhere that was rightfully allocated to another deserving child, because I tried to teach my children to be fair.

    • Brian asked which high performance athlete would choose TT over US, etc…? Our very own Jehue Gordon! And he is a World Champion too!
      Forget bout all dis petty ting…anybody really look at what Jehue do and analyze it? We should all take ah page from he book eh!

    • Brian Manning, the problem is you think are confusing what is majority behaviour and what isn’t. What percentage of parents do you think called your mother?
      I just had a long chat with Andreas Stueven on it. That might be your world. It isn’t mine. My grandmother was a secondary school principal and my mother, aunt and uncle were all school teachers.
      You seem to have this assumption that I am not privy to the information that you have. That isn’t it. You’re just from a different part of the pond. And you believe that what you see is how it is.
      I’m not questioning that what you say doesn’t happen. But you are questioning what I see and know.
      There are many parents like Hannifer Dick. But it isn’t anyway nearly enough to say that any or even most parents would do the same thing.

    • I want to put a little relativity to the word all i used earlier and have to admit that it is not all and out of those that do not all go to the extend of Mrs Dick. But i also have to agree with Brian on the fact the TTGF has the option to ignore her just like we do in our federation when we see those rising stars coming our way…. parents are usually the biggest pain and just like you Lasana that is not my world and it was not known to me until i got involved in sports administration on a national level, since then i have seen all the different grades….my statement was by no means meant as a insult to people like you and your family and merely represents my experience over the past few years….

    • Brian, in my world, parents are more concerned about putting food on their children’s table and getting their school books and getting them through the month.
      The last thing on anyone’s mind is petitioning to get them a spot on any sport’s team.
      That’s just one example and not the whole reality. Because it is part about morals too. But don’t assume that those values you refer to exist everywhere. The country would crash if everyone was that selfish.
      The parents in your world need the parents in my world who don’t complain and just do their best. I suppose those are the people who end up being exploited in our corrupt society.

    • The NBFTT cannot even field a senior national team without parents and coaches trying to undermine the team selection process. Everyone wants ‘their player’ on the team. You either succumb to the pressure or you ignore it. Why the TTGF would feel pressured by Mommy Dick’s emails I have no idea. I am absolutely sure this isn’t the first parent to lobby them to have their child selected to represent T&T. Not the first time here or in any other NSO in T&T. This happens all the time everywhere.

    • listen now Lasana is time to take a break: is your sport and my team playing for gold eh…. Germany-Brazil…. men football…

    • Ok, now you are being ridiculous. It has nothing to do with my circle. I’ve been a youth coach in the US and the experience is the same. Your inability to discuss this issue dispassionately speaks volumes. I have not insulted you in any way and have focused on what I have seen to be the facts in this matter. This is just my opinion. You are entitled to yours.

    • I don’t see how I insulted you Brian Manning. If you said that is what you see all around you then I thought it was a fair assumption.
      I doubt that you are saying I don’t know anything about what happens in sport. I find that quite odd.
      Andreas, stop hitting the bar!

    • shush now and watch some football… look out for licks and even sneaking in neymar and a additional 75,000 players will not help them…

    • Hope you gentlemen don’t mind my 2c here. It may not be unusual to have parents petition an administrative body or representative to have their child get a second look, or even preferential treatment. However, I would like to believe that it is NOT the norm to have collusion between an NSO and a parent to circumvent the legal process. And that I think is the difference here. And it happened on multiple occasions.

      With respect to the Test Event – Geddert’s words may have been clumsy/emotional/whatever. The fact is that as far as he was aware, any removal of the athlete requires his input – none of us could have dreamt that the TTGF would pull what they did.

      Not only were they able to reach and mobilize Dick while she was at another event BEFORE giving any sign to the coach, they reached Fuentes? And never had her relay a message? Not the front desk? Not a message on a pillow? Not a text message? Not until well after the athlete had been withdrawn? Who on God’s green earth could have expected that, even of the TTGF?

      And as far as the unanimous extraordinary decision made by the TTGF admin body – that prompted actual resignations. And the story changed. What was done in Rio was wrong. The TTGF did what was legal in terms of timing of withdrawal etc involving FIG. That does not absolve them of wrongdoing wrt the process and communications internally involving coach and athlete.

      Finally, yes, it is the TTGF that people feel disgust with, but due to the multiple instances of apparent collusion between athlete camp and NSO camp and the deflection of making her the face of the fight, she has drawn a lot of ill will as her character has been called into question.

    • Nicole i agree with you on the collusion, we don’t do that and parents that start to annoy us will be ignored and we turn to treatment by the books….. i disagree with you about the assessment of what the TTGF is capable of and as a HP coach that Geddert is, he should have known what can of worms he opened, i agree with Brian there, on his assessment that he delivered the ammunition the TTGF was looking for. As far as the logistical chore to organize Marissa’s appearance at the Test event goes: Anyone with reasonable good logistical skills and good coordination would have been able to pull that stunt, I’ve done a few logistical chores like that, you just have to focus on sequence and stay on top of what has to be done to make all of it happen…

    • Brian, when you say it happens everywhere. Do you mean that behaviour is in the majority? Because of course it happens everywhere. Corruption is a part of life. But in my experience, most people are not thieves.
      Maybe there might be pockets of society where there might be more thieves than honest people.
      If you are in such a circle, you would think everyone is a crook. So I get where you are coming from.
      But that is a view of only part of the pond.

    • Dennis Allen No! Her performance was consistent with how she has been performing over the years. I truly do not believe it mattered whether she had our support or not.

      She just wanted to participate in the olympics and she did.

  18. Tell politicians to stop getting involved as well

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