Isabella Tobias denied Lithuanian citizenship ...

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by kosjenka, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. kosjenka

    kosjenka Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2003
    Messages:
    2,626
  2. Frau Muller

    Frau Muller President of Dick Button Appreciation Club

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Messages:
    7,952
    I hope that the Tobias & Copely families can recover the money spent on this sham. I bet they've spent a pretty penny. Sad.
     
  3. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2002
    Messages:
    5,065
    Dunno, Tobias got a much better, experienced partner than most dancers with her credentials would get otherwise. And they had some good international results. It's still unfortunate they'll miss out on Sochi, but I'd hardly call it a sham.
     
  4. Frau Muller

    Frau Muller President of Dick Button Appreciation Club

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Messages:
    7,952
    By 'sham' I mean the promise of long-term hopes to be an Olympian, which, in the end, is the goal of such cross-cultural elite skating ventures. A sham usually involves the outlay of a hefty amoung of CA$H for a certain expected result.

    I agree with you that the good international (non-Olympics) results are nothing to sneeze at but, still, most (not all) of these US skaters and their families have their eyes firmly on the big "O-Prize."
     
  5. SamuraiK

    SamuraiK Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Messages:
    1,588
    Same story as Copely.. Well Tobias should've known what she was getting into. HOpefully they stick together..
     
  6. Stephanie

    Stephanie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2002
    Messages:
    1,747
    But why would the Tobiases (or anyone) have expected the decision to be different than it was for Copely?
     
  7. joeperryfan

    joeperryfan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2002
    Messages:
    2,022
    It's not that I advocate the practice, but wasn't it more common a few years ago for athletes to get married for citizenship? IIRC Navka and Morozov were briefly married for this reason.
     
  8. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2003
    Messages:
    10,616
    I can't speak for Tobias or any other skater. But it seems to me that opportunities to compete at ISU championships and Grand Prix events, but not necessarily Olympics, might be more valuable than an Olympic-eligible (by citizenship) partnership that would be lucky to get even senior B assignments because of a deep field in the US (or Canada or Russia or wherever) and would have little hope of ever making it to Worlds or Euros/4Cs.
     
  9. haribobo

    haribobo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2002
    Messages:
    6,560
    That's a great question Stephanie- and I thought the same thing when I was reading the article. If Tobias wanted to have a prayer of this working out, they should have spent a decent portion of the year training in Lithuania with some no-name coach. If they've made it clear you have to actually be integrating into society to gain citizenship, then training with a Russian guy in Michigan isn't going to help you much. 9th at Euros and a GP bronze medal might be seen as extraordinary achievements if they were living and training in Lithuania this whole time, who knows. That does suck though. Its too late now, but I wonder what place they be at in the US? Somewhere in the 3-5 range I'd imagine.
     
  10. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2002
    Messages:
    14,032
    The decision is pretty clear... she applied for citizenship as someone who had "special merit", and the ruling is that this has to have been demonstrated prior to granting of citizenship, not as a premise for future success (they will represent Lithuania ably at the Olympics). They have some accomplishments in figure skating - a top 10 at Euros, a Skate America bronze I think - but apparently that is not considered enough to be granted citizenship. That's not unreasonable. If they ever make it to a medal at Euros/Worlds for Lithuania, perhaps she could re-apply.

    Presumably she can also apply to be naturalized the regular way (without the exception), but then according to wiki she faces a residency and language requirement.
     
  11. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Messages:
    3,682
    They certainly didn't get married so one of them could get Lithuanian citizenship. :shuffle:

    It might have helped Morozov get Belarusian citizenship, though. Belarus and Lithuania are different countries, with different citizenship laws.
     
  12. bmcg

    bmcg Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2011
    Messages:
    1,115
    I don't think joeperryfan is not aware that Belarus and Lithuania are different countries. Seems pretty clear his point was about getting married for citizenship ;)
     
  13. Frau Muller

    Frau Muller President of Dick Button Appreciation Club

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Messages:
    7,952
    Maybe the Tobiases have a different group of immigration lawyers than the Copely family and, thus, hoped for better result? Different lawyers have different 'relations' with the decision makers.

    "Making things work" in such situations is iffy. It "works" in some countries better than others. It seems that Lithuania and Azerbaijan (remember that?) aren't so accomodating.
     
  14. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2002
    Messages:
    14,032
    I think Azerbaijan was plenty accommodating... didn't Kristin Fraser get citizenship without having set foot in the country? I thought the issues recently with Azerbaijan were with the federation not submitting paperwork on time, not with the government not granting citizenship.
     
  15. kirkbiggestfan

    kirkbiggestfan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2003
    Messages:
    2,265
    Do zlobina and Sitnikov have AZE citizenship?
     
  16. leafygreens

    leafygreens Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    Messages:
    1,662
    This is sad for Isabella AND Deividas. The Lithuanian government is contradicting itself. Apparently, the Lithuanians view "special merits" as only competing in the Olympics, which they admitted by calling the Olympics a "future merit". How can a skater earn the future merit if they are not allowed to compete in it? It's also sad for Deividas that being in a country with so few prospects, he is guaranteed to never compete as an Olympic ice dancer.

    It's a shame that athletes have to rely on country boundaries so much to be able to compete. As we become a more "global world" this is becoming a huge issue. It would be nice if there was a way for mixed-citizenship teams to compete, like the Unified Team in 1992 Olympics. I also believe that in gymnastics team competition, the single athletes from smaller countries are grouped into teams.

    Perhaps the top 1-2 mixed skating teams from qualifying competitions could be allowed into the Olympics. I believe in the future that some accommodation will be made for the teams, similar to the "going pro" rules that were changed and you can now be an athlete with a job. It's a different world.

    I guess it is a gift in places like the U.S. and Canada, where you can obtain citizenship based on abilities. I think Lithuania is hurting itself by denying itself an Olympic ice dance team. The country would also benefit from the skater, not just the skater benefiting from the country.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  17. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2002
    Messages:
    5,065
    The way it works for gymnastics is that athletes who qualify as individuals are grouped together so they form their own "warm-up" group. Their scores only count individually and the mixed group doesn't get a placement that counts towards team events.
     
  18. TAHbKA

    TAHbKA Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2002
    Messages:
    9,124
    If am not mistaken (and I could be) Copely had to give up the USA citizenship in order to obtain the Lithuanian and she had different goals. Or was it an `estonian' skater skating with Rand?
     
  19. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2002
    Messages:
    5,065
    I thought it was Mallory and Rand that had the dual citizenship issue.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/28/sports/olympics/28pairs.html?_r=0
     
  20. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Messages:
    3,682
    I think the point is that if they had achieved more than they have -- like winning a European Championship, for example -- Lithuania might be more disposed to granting her citizenship.

    There really isn't much reason to think that they would win an Olympic medal even if they were eligible to compete or that she would do anything else for Lithuania, like go to live there and coach young skaters. So why should Lithuania make an exception for her?

    Actually, just about anyone can obtain citizenship by living in the U.S., Canada, or Lithuania long enough and speaking the national language. I'm not sure about Canada, but the U.S. doesn't award citizenship based on special abilities. That's why athletes like Martina Navratilova, Peter Tchernyshev, and Tanith Belbin, had to wait at least five years after they settled in the U.S. to apply for citizenship. The U.S. does grant residency based on special abilities, but I suspect Lithuania does too. Isabella Tobias, however, isn't seeking to live in Lithuania.
     
  21. Sylvia

    Sylvia On to GP & U.S. Sectionals!

    Joined:
    May 27, 2002
    Messages:
    31,116
    Yes. I found this pre-2010 Olympics post in the FSU Archives:
    Excerpt from the NY Times article re. Mallory: http://www.annarbor.com/sports/university-of-michigan-student-competes-for-estonias-olympic-team/
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  22. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2002
    Messages:
    5,065
    They have been known to speed up the naturalization process, like they did for Tanith Belbin, however and do away with the 5 year (or is it 6 now) requirement. Basically, you need to have a green card for at least 5 years before you could apply for citizenship.
     
  23. Tesla

    Tesla Whippet Good

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Messages:
    1,884
    For the billionth time, Tanith's naturalization was not sped up. In fact, her process was longer because of 9/11. People who applied after her became citizens before her.
     
  24. Sylvia

    Sylvia On to GP & U.S. Sectionals!

    Joined:
    May 27, 2002
    Messages:
    31,116
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  25. BittyBug

    BittyBug Kiteless

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2003
    Messages:
    15,233
    Deleted because my memory is obviously lacking.

    But to the point of this thread, I'm glad Lithuania doesn't have its citizenship for sale. If Tobias can't even be bothered to live in the country and learn the language, then she doesn't deserve citizenship IMO.
     
    Lanna and (deleted member) like this.
  26. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2002
    Messages:
    5,065
    I definitely remember an act of congress to get her to the 2006 Olympics. From what I understand, the requirements changed in between the time she applied and the Olympic year (which is why other people got their citizenship faster), but some special dispensation was still required to ensure she got hers on time. Doesn't that still count as speeding things up? I assume there were other people without special abilities who applied at the same time as Tanith who had to wait even longer. I'm not saying this is wrong --far from it, actually. Just pointing out gov't does get involved in certain cases, even in the US.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  27. TanithandBenFan

    TanithandBenFan U.S. Ice Dance Junkie

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2003
    Messages:
    5,895
    She's been studying the language. She spoke it in a recent interview she and Deividas did when they visited Lithuania.
     
  28. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Messages:
    3,682
    Talking to the brick wall again, are we, Tesla? :saint:
     
  29. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2002
    Messages:
    20,569
    Spending money on skating does not give you the right to change national laws.

    Copely and Tobias were consenting adults who knew very well what they were getting into.

    Lithuanian citizenship laws are not secretive and there's also a case history you can look at (which shows Lithuania does not give citizenship to promising athletes just because they have decent results).
     
  30. Carolla5501

    Carolla5501 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    Messages:
    3,319
    The legislation actually covered more then just her.

    Google is your friend

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/olympics/torino/figureskating/2005-12-31-belbin-citizen_x.htm