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HARSH social media criticism has forced Trinidad and Tobago gymnastics representative Marisa Dick to avoid it completely.

Dick disclosed this during an ESPN live interview in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, yesterday, saying she had decided to stay off social media to avoid seeing what was being said about her.

Dick's selection to represent Trinidad and Tobago at the Rio Olympics has been widely discussed on social media, and reached a peak when the 19-year-old suffered a slip on the uneven bars during the qualifying rounds of the competition and scored a disappointing 11.333 on the apparatus.

Dick, who was asked during the interview about the controversy over her last-minute replacement of Thema Williams, said it has been difficult dealing with the “hate” from the country she went to Rio to represent.

She said she was unused to the level of hate being sent her way when all she was trying to do was focus on gymnastics.

“It was really tough,” she said. “I didn't read any of it but it definitely was tough just coming in, knowing that a lot of the country wasn't behind me,” she said.

She added she was honoured to be in Rio representing Trinidad and Tobago, and it was “heartbreaking” that so many people would have prefered that T&T had no representative at all, unless it was Williams.

She maintained she felt the love from all her supporters, her friends and her family, as well as other members of the T&T delegation.

She said her Olympic experience was a dream come true.

Although she did not make it past the opening rounds, Dick successfully performed a variation of her signature move and now has two moves named after her.

Meanwhile, Williams has filed an $11 million lawsuit against the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) over its decision to replace her with Dick.

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