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Isabella Tobias denied Lithuanian citizenship ...

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

  1. BreakfastClub

    BreakfastClub Active Member

  2. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

    Maxim Zavozin also benefited from the Tanith legislation. I remember some posters at the time saying he was actually the only other person who did, but I'm not sure if I'm misremembering and/or if those posters were characterizing it correctly.

    I agree with you. Her citizenship was sped up - she received it earlier than she otherwise would have, because an amendment was added to a budget appropriation authorizing it. That's a fact with no positive or negative attached to it. The issue to me is whether it was fair that it was sped up, and there's plenty of different arguments: Yes, it was fair because she applied in 2000. Yes, it was fair because she was on track to receive it by 2006 had 9/11 not happened. Yes, it was fair because people who applied after her got it before her. Yes, it was fair because it was just correcting a quirk in the law and was written to apply to others similarly situated. No, it was not fair because others who did not have "extraordinary abilities" were not included. No, it was not fair because she's just an ice dancer and such an amendment should only be enacted for scientists. No, it was not fair because the reason she got it is because she had a big law firm and figure skating fans lobbying for her. Etc etc.
  3. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  4. UMBS Go Blue


    Tanith also lived and trained in the US full-time or pretty close to full-time and, as other posters have mentioned, ought to have gotten her citizenship anyway via normal processes, but was delayed because of red tape.

    The Tanith issue was covered here in '05-'06 ad nauseum - search the archives for it; one poster (hi! :40beers:) was personally involved - and helped spark the creation of this smiley --> :mitchell:

    Without knowing more about Tobias and her situation, it's still obvious she doesn't live and train full-time in Lithuania like Tanith did in the US.
    kwanfan1818 and (deleted member) like this.
  5. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    It's unusual for a country to grant citizenship to a non-resident; the Putin/Depardieu love dance is an exception. The typical path for citizenship starts with an application for permanent residency, and, as far as I know, Tobias never applied for residency status in Lithuania. Belbin was a long-time US resident, from her teens, and in Canada, Kaitlyn Weaver was a Canadian Permanent Resident. Canada grants PR status to athletes and people in the arts through the "Self-Employed" economic class, and the US has "Self Petition" for "Individuals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, (E11)." I've never seen the equivalent in documentation about Lithuanian citizenship. It is possible that if Tobias/Stagniunas trained in Lithuania, and Tobias was a resident of Lithuania, that the Lithuanian government might have ruled under different reasoning and expedited her citizenship request, had she met all but the length of residency qualifications; it might also have required her to renounce her US citizenship, since dual citizenship seems to be allowed only for people who left during Communist rule.

    The original legislation that Levin proposed would have allowed everyone in Belbin's residency class who applied before 2002 to expedite their citizenship, but the final version was so restrictive, it applied only athletes like Belbin, Zavozin, and maybe a speedskater? because it was the only way the legislation was going to be passed in time for her and Agosto to compete in Torino. It was short-sighted for the change in legislation that issued concurrent immigrant visa and green cards not to have reduced the waiting time for people who applied under the old rules, so that they were on par, and I think it was a shame that Levin's original amendment wasn't ratified. I don't see any problem in using a high profile case to publicize and push through legislation that ensures parity, and while the legislation technically expedited her citizenship, it granted her a timeline to which others of her class were entitled.

    Weaver's case was different: the legislature made an exception to the physical residency requirements for citizenship (which are very different than the residency requirements to maintain Permanent Residency) that everyone else who applies for citizenship must meet. Of course, Canada had every right to expedited it though the established process and did.
  6. apatinar

    apatinar Active Member

    Tobias' mother probably thought that with all that money they have, she could easily buy her daughter's citizenship.. Nope! Sorry! You can't have your way with everything!
  7. leafygreens

    leafygreens Well-Known Member

    Not sure why it's only fair for scientists to receive expedited American citizenship, but not fair for figure skaters?

    Kaitlyn was barely a "resident" of Canada for three years, even though she lives and trains in Michigan, and she did NOT have to give up her American citizenship. She did not obtain a world medal before then, either, and was banking on the "future merits" of getting 2nd at nationals to become an Olympian. Is that fair?

    Those are some wild assumptions.
  8. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    It took Vanessa James about two years to get French citizenship after she paired up with Yannick Bonheur, though I do believe they trained in France in order to facilitate the naturalization process.

    It wasn't very hard for Allison Reed to get Georgian citizenship a few years ago... it'll be interesting to see if she can get Israeli citizenship as easily, if it looks like she and Rogov can qualify for Sochi. Israel does not require residency if you're Jewish, but I don't believe Reed has any Jewish heritage. And while some non-Jewish athletes have become Israeli citizens, it's usually footballers and basketball players who play in Israeli leagues, or people who marry Israeli citizens, not figure skaters who live in New Jersey.
  9. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

    I was just throwing out arguments that could be made on either side. Tanith's citizenship took an act of congress to expedite. There must be people who would find it ridiculous that would be done on behalf of an Olympic ice dancer, believing that such a measure should only be introduced on behalf of someone like a scientist who would theoretically be more valuable to society as a whole, even though both are considered to have extraordinary abilities. I'm not saying I agree. I think ice dancing is very important! ;)
  10. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    Didn't Vanessa James have some French connections and possibly lived in France before as well?

    I think Papa Boria wouldn't have paired Reed and Rogov up if the citizenship couldn't be sorted. :p
  11. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    Not that I'm aware of. I think she only moved there when she partnered with Bonheur. As late as fall 2007 she was still competing for Great Britain internationally.

    Papa Boria vs. Eli Yishai... yeah, I'm going to give this one to Yishai and his minions, if it comes to that.

    They couldn't even get Tamar Katz to Vancouver, even though she'd qualified and had citizenship.
  12. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    Weaver/Poje trained in Canada -- Kitchener/Waterloo and Toronto -- until 2009, the year she was granted citizenship. The residency rules for citizenship are three years physical residency of four after receiving Permanent Resident status. I'm not sure how long it took for Weaver to be granted PR status after she and Poje teamed up, but she neither had the full three years of residency requirements nor went through the standard citizenship application process, which can take up to two years. That's why the established exception process was used.

    As far as fairness, each country sets up its own rules and aims for granting citizenship. Canada has many avenues for becoming a resident and eventually citizenship and immigration is largely one way in. Lithuania, at least modern sovereign Lithuania, does not. That Canada has different standards for detemining the basis for making an exception has little to do with fairness and all to do with sovereignty.

    As far as figure skaters vs. scientists in the US goes, Levin didn't create a hierarchy among those in the "extraordinary" category: the US Congress did when they amended Levin's amendment as part of the negotiations to pass an appropriations bill.
  13. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    Ah sorry it was Canada she was born in and had roots to.
  14. apatinar

    apatinar Active Member


    I remember her as a young girl at the rink and she was the absolute least talented but her super pushy mother turned her into a world class ice dancer??? How does that happen?? hmmmmm
  15. Kasey

    Kasey Correcting President Trump's grammar on Twitter :)

    Yeah, cuz her "pushy mother" is the one who's been putting in the hours of work practicing, and then performing the programs before international judging. Apparently Tobias did absolutely nothing to get to the level she's at. :rolleyes:

    I don't even care about this team (well, I wish he had a stronger partner), but some people in this thread are just bitchy for the sake of it. Shocking, on FSU, I know! ;)
    Sylvia and (deleted member) like this.
  16. 2sk8

    2sk8 Active Member


    Give the girl some credit, even if you have some personal issue with the family. She worked hard, the couple has done well - this is a very saddening setback.
  17. apatinar

    apatinar Active Member

    The real question is out of all the girls out there, how is it that this girl was able to even have the opportunity to perform those programs before international judging...
  18. Capella

    Capella Guest

    Isabella was already a successful ballerina in the NYC circuit as a child, so it's not like she came into ice dance as a complete spazz with no performance ability.
  19. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    The real question is why you're so obsessive about her. But to answer your question: drive, dedication, perseverance, luck, hard work, and yes, the ability to finance a very expensive athletic pursuit. Were you under the illusion that skaters make it to the top (which Tobias didn't, BTW) based on nothing but talent?
    jamesy, Erin, Sylvia and 3 others like this.
  20. Sylvia

    Sylvia Prepping for club comp. season!

    Money can provide a big advantage in figure skating, but it doesn't automatically provide the desire for an athlete to train/compete, determination to improve, and overall dedication to the sport that's needed on a daily basis to compete at the highest levels.
  21. kosjenka

    kosjenka Pogorilaya’s fairy godmother

    I dont understand this at all.
    Tobias is not as good as ice dancer as Stagni&#363;nass?
    Why on earth is he skating with her? It is well known that top MALE ice dancers are rare and girls have to "fight" for the fitting partner.
    After the fiasco with his former partner (same situation with citizenship btw) Stagni&#363;nass was on the hunt for new partner and if I remember correctly he tested with Jana Khokhlova. People were stunned that she choose Fedor Andreev - skater with no ice dance experience over a solid Stagni&#363;nass.
    Maybe Stagni&#363;nass is not THAT much better than Tobias. I see great elegance in her moves and presence. Their Rachmaninov free dance gives me chills. That hasn't happened in a while.
  22. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member


    Whilst technically Tobias might be far from the best ice dancer, she is one of the best performers and always gives it 110% in competitions.

    She's probably paying his expenses.
  23. TAHbKA

    TAHbKA Well-Known Member

    Sure he would. Mainly because Reeds are in dahling daughter's group and there aren't that many other skaters there. PapaBoria had to finance the previous partner (Bugrov), while assume he doesn't have to with Reed. The chances making it to the olys are equally nill with the minimum TES, the Euros placement and the Tamar Katz IOC example. Hence Reed might as well go without the citizenship, but the pair is cheaper.
  24. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    Reed/Rogov have made the TES minimums for Euros and the World TES SD TES minimum, coming within a point twice of the FD TES minimum. They have another chance to make the FD minimum at Euros.

    There's no guarantee they'll place high enough at Euros to get Israeli Olympic Committee approval or even qualify for the Olympics, but they've only been together for a minute and a half, and she's very talented.

    I have no idea on what basis the Israeli government would grant her citizenship, though, if all of the other stars fell into alignment.
  25. PRlady

    PRlady flipflack

    Well, zemgirl's crack about Eli Yishai tells you it would be very political. (And where wouldn't it be?) Plenty of Russian Israelis are not technically Jewish but are related to someone who qualifies for citizenship. Unless the Japanese are one of the 10 lost tribes, let's assume she would only get citizenship with some political pull, but it's not impossible.
    Coco and (deleted member) like this.
  26. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    It's more likely on her father's side of the family, but I'm not sure whether that would be counted, especially by the Eli Yishai's of the world.
  27. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady Well-Known Member

    I assume it helps when you are immigrating from one EU state to another as Vanessa James did-- from GBR (since she was Bermudan through her father) to FRA. Anyone know if that simplified matters for her becoming French?

    Now Tobias I assume is of Lithuanian ancestry. Am I wrong? Why is she too lazy to learn any Lithuanian? She ought to have claimed she was studying it. It seems that Lithuania applies its citizenship law carefully. As an EU member in that part of Europe, it may have little choice.

    They are one of my favorite dance teams because they are sexy.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013
  28. TanithandBenFan

    TanithandBenFan Author of the Ice and Edge Series

    In a recent article about them, it stated that Isabella was studying the language three times a week. She spoke it in an interview in Lithuania.
  29. Sylvia

    Sylvia Prepping for club comp. season!

  30. leapfrogonice

    leapfrogonice Active Member

    Sorry state. The "judging" community obviously does not need to meet anywhere near to this kind of international/citizenship scrutiny, as an unspoken percentage of judges who "represent" countries other than "Russia" can sit in front of judging computers to choose our Olympic and World champions. But athletes seem to have to meet a higher bar to represent. The lines are blurred and grey.