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Katie

Why don't more of our wrestlers gain foreign citizenship?

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I really enjoyed watching Amine win a bronze medal.  It's easy to be happy when an American wins a medal for a tiny country.  It was great.  But I would love to cheer for more Americans, like Valencia or Nickal or Cox.  And I can only imagine that some Russians had fun cheering for Russian-born bronze medalist Sanayev and Russian-born silver medalist Kadzi.

In the name of my entertainment, I propose that more American compete for other Olympic committees:

  • Puerto Rico seems like a good one, and seems to work for Franklin Gomez. 
  • The Virgin Islands actually has its own Olympic committee, despite being a US territory.  Why can't guys compete for them?
  • There's Germany, with a pro wrestling league and many English speakers.
  • There's Canada, where college freestyle wrestling exists. 
  • Italy took two Cubans; maybe they'll take American as well.
  • There are a ton of English-speaking Caribbean countries, like the Bahamas and Jamaica.

I'm sure there are tons of other suitable places as well. Here's to hoping that more of our elite wrestlers find new homes.

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It will probably be depth dependent. You see it a lot with the Russians because they are so deep. If a wrestler thinks he is the best/near best in the world, but has to sit behind someone who has their number for whatever reason, the incentive to shop for another country is high. So as the depth of US wrestling improves it will likely happen more often.

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44 minutes ago, Jrr277 said:

Because not everyone is willing to compete for a foreign nation against their own country because it's easier to achieve their goals

That would be an understandable reason. Of course, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are not foreign. 

Edited by Katie

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It's not that easy to just become a citizen of another country. Even after a marriage it can take years. For the guys born with dual citizenship (or to parents from countries that value dual citizenship) there's a clear path. I imagine Italy would have a different set of questions for an American than they do for a Cuban. I doubt the path for an "athletic refugee" is a clear and simple one, but I'm sure it'd require them to live that country for a while. Do we think that Bekzod, Gomez, Amine, Micic, etc. would have their success if they lived and trained in their other country for several of the last years? 

Edited by denger

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Money and funding is a big issue. We have had some in the past such as Matt Gentry and Khetag Pliev wrestling for Canada, Alex Dolly for Ireland, Angus Arthur for Jamaica, and Sebastian Rivera was wrestling for Puerto Rico. There have been a lot more, but those are some off the top of my head.

As stated previously most of these guys had an "easy" in to get dual citizenship. 

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It happens more than you think. Marco Sanchez wrestled for Puerto Rico in the Olympics I think. Gary Bohay who was an All American at ASU wrestled for Canada. I knew a guy who tried to wrestle for Guam. 

In the 2004 Olympics there were several Greek teams comprised of 90% Americans because Greece sucked at sports like baseball. 

I know one guy who was on the ladder here for Greco and had an easy pathway for citizenship but never bothered because he didn't want to go to worlds like that. Everyone is different. 

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Canada could work, if they'd be willing to grant you citizenship -- and that's a big if. 

St. Catharines, ON has a warm-ish climate for the area (January highs average 31.5), and it's only a little over an hour from the University of Toronto -- a major school with a wrestling team -- and a little over three hours from Cornell.  Other universities in the area with wrestling teams include Brock University and McMaster University.

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13 minutes ago, ionel said:

Olympics is supposed to be about representing your country not about self so why would you unless already a dual citizen?  Of course there is that "me generation" thingie.  ;_;

I think a patriotic feeling when it comes to the Olympics is a fine thing to have. Many people see it that way.

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1 hour ago, Katie said:

I really enjoyed watching Amine win a bronze medal.  It's easy to be happy when an American wins a medal for a tiny country.  It was great.  But I would love to cheer for more Americans, like Valencia or Nickal or Cox.  And I can only imagine that some Russians had fun cheering for Russian-born bronze medalist Sanayev and Russian-born silver medalist Kadzi.

In the name of my entertainment, I propose that more American compete for other Olympic committees:

  • Puerto Rico seems like a good one, and seems to work for Franklin Gomez. 
  • The Virgin Islands actually has its own Olympic committee, despite being a US territory.  Why can't guys compete for them?
  • There's Germany, with a pro wrestling league and many English speakers.
  • There's Canada, where college freestyle wrestling exists. 
  • Italy took two Cubans; maybe they'll take American as well.
  • There are a ton of English-speaking Caribbean countries, like the Bahamas and Jamaica.

I'm sure there are tons of other suitable places as well. Here's to hoping that more of our elite wrestlers find new homes.

Almost all of the "Russians" wrestling for other countries are not ethnic Russians and in general tend to be resentful of Russians.  I suspect it is really easy for a Dagestani, Chechen or Ossetian fan to root for their wrestler even if they are not wearing a Russian singlet

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As stated, the citizenship question is a big determinant. San Marino has very lax citizenship rules. Amine is eligible to rep them because one of his great grandfathers was from there.

For others, it's not like you can just go get Canadian citizenship while living and training on this side of the border.

Here's the 2019 UWW document about switching:
https://licensing.uww.org/sites/default/files/2019-10/change_nationality_july_2019_eng.pdf

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Bohay was born in Canada. Gomez in the Dominican Rep but they moved to Puerto Rico when he was about 5 years old and learned to wrestle first in San Juan.

 

Noel Loban is another US collegian wrestling for others- Great Britain in '84. He was born in Wimbledon

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39 minutes ago, IronChef said:

As stated, the citizenship question is a big determinant. San Marino has very lax citizenship rules. Amine is eligible to rep them because one of his great grandfathers was from there.

For others, it's not like you can just go get Canadian citizenship while living and training on this side of the border.

Here's the 2019 UWW document about switching:
https://licensing.uww.org/sites/default/files/2019-10/change_nationality_july_2019_eng.pdf

 

Yeah, my assumption is that Canadian citizenship is not easy to get, generally speaking.

I wonder what the process is for being deemed a citizen of the Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico, since they are both US territories.

Anyway, I enjoyed cheering for Amine. Good fun.

Edited by Katie

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3 minutes ago, Katie said:

 

Yeah, my assumption is that Canadian citizenship is not easy to get, generally speaking.

I wonder what the process is for being deemed a citizen of the Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico, since they are both US territories.

Anyway, I enjoyed cheering for Amine. Good fun.

You don't get "citizenship" there. You get residency. You basically have to live there for x number of years, I think 5 years, before you're considered a resident. Or you have to have been born there or a parent born there. 

There's some countries that will straight up sell you citizenship too. You don't even need to visit or live there. 

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1 hour ago, ionel said:

Olympics is supposed to be about representing your country not about self so why would you unless already a dual citizen?  Of course there is that "me generation" thingie.  ;_;

I agree. I think it is a shame that the Olympic announcers even mention the competitors by name. It's not about who the athlete it is, its about the country. Grosses me out every time I look at the back of the singlets and see the last names of our wrestlers above 'USA'.  

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9 minutes ago, TripNSweep said:

You don't get "citizenship" there. You get residency. You basically have to live there for x number of years, I think 5 years, before you're considered a resident. Or you have to have been born there or a parent born there. 

There's some countries that will straight up sell you citizenship too. You don't even need to visit or live there. 

I’m no expert in citizenship and nationality law, but Wikipedia says that Virgin Islanders and Puerto Ricans are citizens of both the US and their respective territories.  Wikipedia, of course, may be wrong. 

Edited by Katie

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2 hours ago, dman115 said:

Plus, I thought that the "other" country has to pay a crap ton of money to make it happen?

The big money is for past medalists switching countries, the standard fee for those without some sort of international medal is 5,000 francs.

https://uww.org/sites/default/files/media/document/international_rules_for_the_change_of_nationality_dec_15_eng.pdf

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45 minutes ago, Katie said:

I’m no expert in citizenship and nationality law, but Wikipedia says that Virgin Islanders and Puerto Ricans are citizens of both the US and their respective territories.  Wikipedia, of course, may be wrong. 

This was assuming you were a US citizen already. Guam has a similar thing too. Also a weird quirk is that anyone who is a citizen of Palau or the Federated States of Micronesia can legally work and live in the states without a visa. 

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5 hours ago, Katie said:

I really enjoyed watching Amine win a bronze medal.  It's easy to be happy when an American wins a medal for a tiny country.  It was great.  But I would love to cheer for more Americans, like Valencia or Nickal or Cox.  And I can only imagine that some Russians had fun cheering for Russian-born bronze medalist Sanayev and Russian-born silver medalist Kadzi.

In the name of my entertainment, I propose that more American compete for other Olympic committees:

  • Puerto Rico seems like a good one, and seems to work for Franklin Gomez. 
  • The Virgin Islands actually has its own Olympic committee, despite being a US territory.  Why can't guys compete for them?
  • There's Germany, with a pro wrestling league and many English speakers.
  • There's Canada, where college freestyle wrestling exists. 
  • Italy took two Cubans; maybe they'll take American as well.
  • There are a ton of English-speaking Caribbean countries, like the Bahamas and Jamaica.

I'm sure there are tons of other suitable places as well. Here's to hoping that more of our elite wrestlers find new homes.

A lot of the Americans we see wrestling for other countries actually have ties to those countries through family history. It’s a relatively quick process to get citizenship, so they can do it 6 months or so before the Olympics.

For example Gentry, Dolly, Amine etc had parents or grandparents from those countries that made them eligible for citizenship fairly quickly.

As far as others that you mentioned like Cox or Nickal, I don’t think there is any well known connection to other countries. Unless they have some connection, who would they go wrestle for? It would be random, and citizenship would likely take a long time.

The Russians who go wrestle for other countries typically don’t do it right before the Olympics. They get citizenship and wrestle for them for a good chunk of their careers. The Americans that we see do it are usually in and out right around the Olympics.

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3 hours ago, BuckyBadger said:

A lot of the Americans we see wrestling for other countries actually have ties to those countries through family history. It’s a relatively quick process to get citizenship, so they can do it 6 months or so before the Olympics.

For example Gentry, Dolly, Amine etc had parents or grandparents from those countries that made them eligible for citizenship fairly quickly.

As far as others that you mentioned like Cox or Nickal, I don’t think there is any well known connection to other countries. Unless they have some connection, who would they go wrestle for? It would be random, and citizenship would likely take a long time.

The Russians who go wrestle for other countries typically don’t do it right before the Olympics. They get citizenship and wrestle for them for a good chunk of their careers. The Americans that we see do it are usually in and out right around the Olympics.

Agree, it’d probably have to be people with some ties to other countries.  I believe they’ve specially said they only want to represent the US but maybe Vito and/or Yianni?

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