So, if had a spare moment to check your Facebook newsfeed today, you might have heard that the TTGF surprised absolutely no one by pulling an eleventh hour reversal to once again deny Thema Williams the opportunity she rightfully earned to represent T&T in the Rio Olympics. Obvs, Marisa Dick (who originally failed to qualify for the spot under the TTGF’s own requirements but has somehow remained in contention) is now going in her place.
From what I hear, Thema’s trying to fight it (on the grounds that it’s complete BS and also, you know, illegal), but as of this moment, she is once again not T&T’s representative (despite being the most qualified).
While her lawyers fight the case, the rest of us who are fed up of seeing this kind of nonsense play out over and over (AND OVER) again have decided to make our voices heard, for what it’s worth. We’re not letting this one go. The campaign to make that clear began this evening with emails sent to the TTGF.
Here’s my contribution, sent to the TTGF’s president, Mr. David Marquez (firstname.lastname@example.org, in case you feel like dropping him a line yourself):
I’m reaching out to you as a citizen of T&T (one of many) who has had more than enough of the opaque bureaucracy shrouding so many processes that should be transparent. We’re more than fed up of officials who claim to be operating in the best interests of the country but whose high-handed antics instead seem designed to further a murky agenda.
The business of who will represent T&T at this years’ Olympics seems to be more of the same. From the beginning, the TTGF appeared to be singlemindedly pursuing an agenda that runs contrary to its own guidelines, only keeping its word when forced to bow to public pressure.
It was no surprise, therefore, to find that this body waited until the very last moment (on a weekend, no less) to announce that it had reversed its decision and intended to pursue the course that brought down the ire of so many in the first place.
If you’re being unfairly maligned, do make that clear. Explain the reasoning. Release the documents (coach’s reports, doctor’s reports, etc.) that informed your last-minute decision so the nation can see that you haven’t been scheming to ensure that an athelete who failed to qualify to represent our country under standards you set isn’t being unfairly promoted over the athlete who did qualify.
Or, you know, don’t. Continue to pretend that you answer to no one and ignore the outcry. Do please note the country’s growing distaste for that kind of stance. And do keep in mind that those who won’t be boycotting the gymnastics portion of the Olympics in protest will be watching closely to see if the decision you were so determined to make was in the best interests of this nation’s chances in its first-ever Olympic gymnastics run. And consider how the public might react if it turns out not to be.
Indeed, the TTGF is the steward of T&T’s spot in the Olympics, but the spot belongs to the nation. It should be awarded to the athlete who is most qualified and fit to compete. If Thema is not that athlete, show us how. Because all you’ve showed us up to now is a lot of nonsense.
A Deeply Disappointed Citizen