Canadian ice dancing champion Nikolai Sorensen, who is under investigation for alleged sexual assault, and his skating partner Laurence Fournier Beaudry have withdrawn from the Canadian Figure Skating Championships this week in Calgary.
USA Today reported last week that Canada's Office of the Sports Integrity Commissioner (OSIC) is investigating Sorensen over an alleged 2012 sexual assault of an American ski coach and former skier in Hartford, Connecticut.
This claim has not been tested in court.
Sorensen denied the allegation in an Instagram post on Tuesday, but said he and Fournier Beaudry were withdrawing from the tournament because they believed their participation would be a distraction.
“These allegations are false, and I intend to vigorously defend myself and my reputation,” he wrote.
Sorensen said he was cooperating fully with the OSIC, which was established in June 2022 as an independent body to deal with complaints and reports of abuse and mistreatment in sport.
In a separate Instagram post, Fournier Beaudry said the situation was difficult.
“While I strongly believe that everyone should be protected and safe in sports, I know that my partner is a man of integrity, respect, and kindness,” she wrote.
Both skaters said they would not comment further.
Montreal-based Sorensen and Fournier Beaudry are the national ice dancing champions and are in ninth place at the 2022 Olympics.
The Canadian Figure Skating Championships kicked off Tuesday in Calgary with the junior competition.
More than 300 skaters at both the junior and senior levels compete in men's and women's singles, pairs, ice dancing, and synchronized skating.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published January 10, 2024.