Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Weaver adds red and white to red, white and blue

Texan Kaitlyn Weaver is now Olympic-certified after being officially sworn in as a Canadian citizen on Monday in Kitchener-Waterloo -- the community where she first joined forces with ice dance partner Andrew Poje in the summer of 2006.

"Overall, it was a really great day and I'm so happy and so honored to now, finally, be Canadian. I'm so excited to get the season started. It's just a really great feeling," said Weaver, who met with immediate success on partnering with Poje, taking a bronze medal in senior competition at their first Canadian championships in 2007 and another bronze at the world juniors a month later.

Because ISU rules require only one partner to be a citizen of the country they represent in international competition, the U.S.-Canada ice dance pairing has been competing for Canada for four years already. To compete at the Olympics, however, both partners must be citizens of the country.

Weaver, 20, now enjoys dual citizenship since becoming a Canadian does not require her to forfeit her U.S. citizenship. On hand for the ceremony held at city hall were Weaver's mother and Poje's family. Her father could not attend due to work obligations.

In all, 48 people from 26 different countries were sworn in. "They were from all over the world. It was really cool to hear where they came from and imagine what their stories were like," Weaver recounted.

Following the ceremony, the Poje family hosted a celebration at the German Alpine Club for all the people who have been part of the couple's on-ice journey or had a role to play in Weaver's successful citizenship bid and, of course, for Weaver herself. She noted that Poje's grandparents immigrated to Canada from Germany and the family has been involved in the club for years, while his mother was born in Slovakia.

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