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Thread: Skaters changing citizenship and Feds

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    Size 7 Knife Boots Sam-Skwantch's Avatar
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    Skaters changing citizenship and Feds

    How do you feel about skaters moving to another country and skating for another federation. Is it wrong to take advantage of a federation and their support only to relocate and skate against them. What's your take? Any skaters you think should or are there any who have that you feel strongly about?

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam-Skwantch View Post
    How do you feel about skaters moving to another country and skating for another federation. Is it wrong to take advantage of a federation and their support only to relocate and skate against them. What's your take? Any skaters you think should or are there any who have that you feel strongly about?
    I think freedom of the individual almost always trumps the prerogatives of regulatory organizations. Let the skaters do what they want.

    However, for skaters who consider abandoning their citizenship just so they can skate for 14 minutes at the Olympics -- no, don't.

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    I don't have any particularly bad feelings towards it. If there are no options (or better ones) for you available, you have to seek it out yourself otherwise you'll never accomplish anything. This apply to everyone not just to athletes. A skaters competitive career is short, don't waste it sitting still in one place hoping for a chance when there are other opportunities staring at you in the face. History's not going to remember you for your patriotism, but it'll remember you for your accomplishments. And the most important thing is for the athlete to ask themselves which is more important to them. Skating for a specific country or skating for yourself?

    “If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door”.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    However, for skaters who consider abandoning their citizenship just so they can skate for 14 minutes at the Olympics -- no, don't.
    Yes, that's my take as well. I think the key for me is whether they have contributed to the country/federation regardless of where they physically live or their ethnicity. Tanith Belbin, for example, help raise the profile of U.S. Ice Dance by switching from Canada to the U.S. to skate for Ben Agosto.

    Other times, it's also a matter of necessity. After his treatment by the Korean Skating Federation, Viktor Ahn (speed skater) had to switch federations if he wanted to compete. So therefore he ended up winning gold for Russia. I think many pair/ice dance skaters fall in this category as well.

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    Love popcorn, hate horrendous costumes. Meoima's Avatar
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    Personally I think if your federation doesn't do any thing good for you (like blocking your chances because of politicking reason) you should have just changed the fed and the citizenship, cause it's your life and future.

    People have seen what happened to Viktor Ahn. KSF didn't treat him well at all, so who can blame him for switching citizenship?

    Same for Aliona Savchenko, I suppose it's pretty bad with the Ukraine fed. With the current situation of that country. She is a great skater, and she deserved all the respect for her accomplishments.

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    Size 7 Knife Boots Sam-Skwantch's Avatar
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    Thank you Mathman,Makaihime, and Mrs. P : ITA. Well said

    Anna P. could have a very long career if she went to Ukraine. It isn't ideal now for obvious reasons but it should be on her radar if things improve there. She could out skate about anyone in the world and get stuck on Russia's back burner or worse ...passed over for new talent which we all know is going to be nipping at her heels.

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    Love popcorn, hate horrendous costumes. Meoima's Avatar
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    But can the Ukraine Fed help Anna Pogo with all the funding, not to mention politiking? and Ukraine is currently in trouble, the whole nation. I am afraid they have no mind for figure skating at the moment.

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    Yulia forver! I'm on team dumped Ice Dance. Alba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I think freedom of the individual almost always trumps the prerogatives of regulatory organizations. Let the skaters do what they want.

    However, for skaters who consider abandoning their citizenship just so they can skate for 14 minutes at the Olympics -- no, don't.
    I agree with Mathman.

    I have no problems with skaters changing their citizenship (although I would prefer not more than once otherwise it becomes a kind of joke) but no citizenship just for 14 minutes at the Olympics.

    However, if the Fed has invested on you for many years they sure do have a say and I think it's right.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sam-Skwantch View Post
    Anna P. could have a very long career if she went to Ukraine. It isn't ideal now for obvious reasons but it should be on her radar if things improve there. She could out skate about anyone in the world and get stuck on Russia's back burner or worse ...passed over for new talent which we all know is going to be nipping at her heels.
    Ukraine can't help their athletes, never did tbh. They had good results when they were still part of the URSS.
    Anyway, I think if Anna will continues to skate well she will have her chances. Politicking is not just about "who I like most" but also "who I trust most to bring good results". The Rus Fed, as many others, are not that stupid to "kill" a skater which can do very well at international level.
    After all, they did sent her at Worlds.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alba View Post
    However, if the Fed has invested on you for many years they sure do have a say and I think it's right.
    I have a different perspective. You want to leave? Bye.

    IMHO federations do not have rights, no more do governments. People have rights. I would have the same feeling for anyone who wants to leave the country for any reason. Bye. What's wrong is when a country has to build a wall to keep the people in.

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    Custom Title DianaSelene's Avatar
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    Pogorilaya has already said in an interview a few weeks ago that she definitely has no intention of skating for Ukraine, she will only skate for Russia.

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    Personally, I don't have a big problem if skaters change citizenship (especially in pairs or dance), although it would seem shortsighted in many cases if that meant they had to give up their initial citizenship. I can also find it presumptuous if a skater seems to feel entitled to have another country grant them citizenship. It is a delicate situation that skaters should enter into with realistic expectations.

    Another factor, that I haven't seen so much in figure skating, but moreso in other sports, is third or fourth tier athletes from large countries going to very very small countries to compete. Sometimes this bothers me, because it almost seems a form of colonialism or something - especially if the athletes expect said country to financially support them. I don't know, something seems politically incorrect about that to me somehow...

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    Yulia forver! I'm on team dumped Ice Dance. Alba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I have a different perspective. You want to leave? Bye.

    IMHO federations do not have rights, no more do governments. People have rights. I would have the same feeling for anyone who wants to leave the country for any reason. Bye. What's wrong is when a country has to build a wall to keep the people in.
    I'm sorry but if I put money on your training, coaching, costumes, etc.etc.etc. I do have a say.
    So if you want to leave, yes bye, but you give those money back, and still the Fed is the losing part here.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alba View Post
    I'm sorry but if I put money on your training, coaching, costumes, etc.etc.etc. I do have a say.
    So if you want to leave, yes bye, but you give those money back, and still the Fed is the losing part here.
    I think this is a slippery slope. We paid for your training so now we own you. This is the argument that Iron Curtain countries used in the cold war to justify, for instance, the Berlin Wall. We gave you a state-paid-for education, so now we will not permit you to leave and take that investment out of the country. We will, in fact, shoot you if you try to leave.

    I think the right attitude is, the federation places the skater in a funding envelope for 2014 and gets the benefit of that skater's success that season. Next season, we start with a fresh slate. If you want to leave, good bye and good luck.

    ♪ Got along without you before I met you, gonna get along without you now. ♫

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    In most cases, a skater or other athlete, does not actually change or abandon his/her citizenship but is just taking advantage of dual citizenships, existing or acquiring for career purposes. Usually that is because of some tie s/he has with another country. The tie with the original nation remains, with or without official citizenship. To me, an affection for and contribution to a society, any society including the global community, is more meaningful than nationalism.

    Also, in most cases, a skater would change the country s/he skates for only because of limited or non existing opportunities for international competitions. The switch may just help foster the sport in another country, spreading its popularity and developing a new talent pool.

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    1 thing that annoys me (though I don't how much this applies to skaters) is these athletes that represent a country, they weren't born and don't live there. When they were doing the opening ceremony this year and going through the athletes, they had 1 like that.

    I see the benefit for the skaters though - look at Russian ladies, where it's going to be crazy difficult to go to things like Euro's, World's and Olympics for at least the foreseeable future. I wouldn't be surprised if we see some of the ladies going to different countries. And like some other people have said, I can't really fault the skater for chasing after greener pastures.

    If a skater goes to a different country for whatever reason, lack of funding, competitive level or for a partner (pairs/ice dancing), we can obviously see where it benefits the skater, does it really help the 'new' country's figure skating community? Like it really make it more popular where more kids are going into skating?

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