Isabella Tobias gets Lithuanian citizenship
The President of the Lithuanian Republic Dalia Grybauskaite has signed a special decree, granting Lithuanian citizenship by exception to ice dancer Isabella Tobias, an American citizen, the Presidential office reports in a press release.
The Lithuanian citizenship will enable Isabella Tobias and Deividas Stagniunas, her Lithuanian partner, to represent Lithuania at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
“The President considered the fact that the ice skaters Isabella Tobias and Deividas Stagniunas have already qualified for the 2014 winter Olympics to represent the Republic of Lithuania. The couple of athletes is among the top ten of European ice dancers and among the top-15 in the world, they are the only Lithuanian ice dancers who have qualified to represent Lithuania in the Olympic Games next February.” the official noted in the press release.
According to the news source, the right they won to participate in the Olympics proves athletic excellence and the participation in the Olympic Games is one of career highs. The President’s Office also emphasized that Stagniunas and Tobias, as one of the most capable and best European and world couples of ice dancers, represent Lithuania in all international competitions.
“The president also took into her consideration the fact that Tobias has been practicing with Stagniunas, a Lithuanian citizen, for three-and-a-half years, also learning the Lithuanian language, having passed an examination of the Lithuanian language and involved in the Lithuanian community in the US.” said the President’s Office.
In January, the president rejected Tobias’ application for citizenship, saying that future merits cannot serve grounds for granting citizenship.
Back in 2009, Grybauskaite refused the Lithuanian citizenship to Stagniunas’ former partner Katherine Leigh Copely due to what she said were recommendations from the Citizenship Commission, which said it would run counter to the Constitution and laws.
This is the first citizenship by exception granted by President Grybauskaite.