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  1. #1

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    Isabella Tobias denied Lithuanian citizenship ...

    I just read this on their Facebook page.
    Apparently, this is the second time Deividas Stagniūnass' partner was denied the citizenship. If you remember, he used to skate with Katherine Leigh Copely.
    Same reasons were given which makes me wonder weather this a battle people should be fighting.


    http://www.15min.lt/en/article/in-li...ias-525-294185

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    I hope that the Tobias & Copely families can recover the money spent on this sham. I bet they've spent a pretty penny. Sad.
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    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.

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    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."
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    Same story as Copely.. Well Tobias should've known what she was getting into. HOpefully they stick together..

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    But why would the Tobiases (or anyone) have expected the decision to be different than it was for Copely?

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    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. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frau Muller View Post
    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."
    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.

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    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. #10
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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeperryfan View Post
    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.
    They certainly didn't get married so one of them could get Lithuanian citizenship.

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

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    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie View Post
    But why would the Tobiases (or anyone) have expected the decision to be different than it was for Copely?
    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.

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    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.

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    Do zlobina and Sitnikov have AZE citizenship?

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    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.

    "The essence of citizenship is the confirmation of a person's legal connection to the state. It is not just an act that would enable a person to enter the country or benefit from it. Citizenship is not a gift or a state award," she stated.
    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 by leafygreens; 01-07-2013 at 04:51 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leafygreens View Post
    I also believe that in gymnastics team competition, the single athletes from smaller countries are grouped into teams.
    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.

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    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?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TAHbKA View Post
    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?
    I thought it was Mallory and Rand that had the dual citizenship issue.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/28/sp...airs.html?_r=0

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    Quote Originally Posted by leafygreens View Post
    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.
    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?

    Quote Originally Posted by leafygreens View Post
    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.
    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.

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