Saturday, February 24, 2018


Marisa Dick exits Rio, but delivers new move

Trinidad and Tobago's Marisa Dick competes in the qualifying for the women's Beam event of the Artistic Gymnastics at the Olympic Arena during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL

Trinidad and Tobago's first-ever outing in an Olympic gymnastics competition ended at the Rio Olympic Arena, here in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, yesterday. And while Marisa Dick has been eliminated, there was considerable satisfaction for the 19-year-old at the end of her women's qualification campaign.

Dick attempted a new signature move, mounting the balance beam with the use of a springboard, landing in a split and doing a half-twist to face the direction from which she came. She wobbled a bit, but managed to stay on the beam.

“I landed it,” a beaming Dick told the Express, afterwards, “so that's all I could really ask for. I'm so happy. It went really well. Getting that skill named after myself is what I wanted most out of this whole experience. So getting it feels really good.”
The history-making gymnast said her signature move will be known as “The Dick 2”.

“It's official. We've gone through the process already.”

Dick had another challenge with balance on the beam, at the end of a spin. However, she kept her composure and settled into a solid routine, scoring 13.066.

“I'm just happy I stayed on, and got the meet off to a good start.”

But while Dick focused heavily on the balance beam, her best showing on the day came in the vault. She stuck the landing, and was rewarded with a score of 13.900. The Canadian-born gymnast scored 12.533 on the floor and 11.333 on the uneven bars for an all-around score of 50.832.

At press time, last night, Dick was 42nd overall and out of contention for all-around or event finals. Nevertheless, it was a satisfying outing.

“I'm so happy with my vault. I couldn't have done anything more to make it better. I landed one like that in training just before, so I'm so happy I could do it again. And the floor went really well.”

On the bars, however, she had to dismount.

“I was a little too close when I caught my release from low bar to high bar. I tried to push it up, but just didn't have enough to get to a handstand and get enough swing to get over the bar.”

A disappointed Dick got back on and completed the routine. But while she wanted more from the bars, the teenager was able to put her Olympic participation in perspective.

“It feels amazing. I'm so happy I was the first for Trinidad and Tobago, and I don't want to be the last. I hope there's a ton of gymnasts that come behind me to feel this journey. It's an exciting one. I'm so happy that I've been here and represented Trinidad and Tobago.”

Dick will forever be linked to Thema Williams, the T&T gymnast she replaced at the last minute at the Olympic qualifying competition, here in Rio earlier this year. The decision drew widespread criticism, and Williams has since initiated legal action against the T&T Gymnastics Federation (TTGF).

Dick had some words of encouragement for Williams.

“Thanking her for always being there for me, and us experiencing this whole journey together. We've been competing against and with each other for the past four years, so I'm so happy I got to share this with her. Keep pushing.

“Thema and I have done a really great thing,” Dick continued, “in building gymnastics in Trinidad and Tobago. It's going to push people to want to make more history by being the first team at the Olympic Games.”

Dick was almost in tears as she shared words of inspiration with the many young gymnasts in T&T with Olympic aspirations.

“I was a gymnast like that too, at one point, looking up to somebody else and seeing that it is possible. You just have to train hard and do your best. Anything is possible. Believe in yourself, go for what you want, and never give up.”

Dick plans to keep working hard over the next four years in her bid to create more T&T history by becoming a two-time Olympian.