Thema Williams Sues TTGF

How much is it worth to go to the Olympics as a gymnast? To Thema Williams it’s 1.7 million dollars.

Thema Williams & her attorneys.
Thema Williams & her attorneys.
The dispute between the respective parties centres around the TTGF’s controversial withdrawal of Williams from the Rio 2016 Olympic Test event, on the eve of the April 17 competition. She was replaced by her alternate, Marisa Dick.

The TTGF said its decision to replace its qualified gymnast was taken on the back of an email from Williams’ coach, John Geddert, which said, among other things, that she was “nursing an injured ankle.”

“We are sincerely concerned for her health and cannot risk further injury,” stated a TTGF release on Saturday April 16.

However, Geddert subsequently claimed that the gymnastics federation took his words out of context—and with malicious intent—while a medical check-up allegedly cleared Williams within hours.

The TTGF’s action was also allegedly in breach of its contract with Williams, which suggested that she could only be excused from the Test event after consultation between the head coach, head of delegation, relevant medical personnel and the athlete herself.

Williams’ legal action is spearheaded by attorney Keith Scotland with Martin Daly SC as leading counsel.

The pre-action protocol letter described Williams’ withdrawal as “hasty, unfair and unconscionable” and claimed that the officials: “acted unlawfully and/or without lawful authority and/or in breach of fundamental justice and/or have treated my client unfairly and/or in breach of the contracts and/or membership rights.”

“I think we can agree that competing at the Olympic Games is a chance of a lifetime. And the cynical way it was taken away from Thema Williams warrants this sort of financial request.”

If successful, Williams’ case can be a landmark action in holding sport administrators personally accountable for their actions.

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