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Ice dancer Sorensen exits Canadian championship amid sexual assault allegations

Nikolaj Sorensen Nikolaj Sorensen - The Canadian Press

Canadian ice dancing champion Nikolaj Sorensen, who is under investigation for alleged sexual assault, and his skating partner Laurence Fournier Beaudry have withdrawn from this week’s Canadian figure skating championships in Calgary.

USA Today reported last week that Canada’s Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner (OSIC) is investigating Sorensen over an alleged 2012 sexual assault of an American figure skating coach and former skater in Hartford, Conn.

The allegation has not been tested in court.

Sorensen denied the allegation in an Instagram post Tuesday, but said he and Fournier Beaudry were withdrawing from the championship because they believed their participation would be a distraction.

"These allegations are false, and I intend to strongly defend myself and my reputation," he wrote.

Sorensen said he is co-operating fully with OSIC, which was established in June 2022 as an independent body to handle complaints and reports of abuse and maltreatment in sports.

In a separate Instagram post, Fournier Beaudry said it was a challenging situation.

"While I strongly believe that everyone must be protected and safe in sport, I know that my partner is a man of integrity, respect and kindness," she wrote.

Both skaters said they would not be commenting further.

"Skate Canada is complying with any and all provisional measures that have been imposed by Abuse-Free Sport’s Director of Sanctions and Outcomes (DSO) regarding this case," Skate Canada said Wednesday in a statement.

"It is also important to note that there is an ongoing investigation process which is subject to confidentiality requirements."

Sorensen and Fournier Beaudry, based in Montreal, are the reigning national ice dance champions and placed ninth in the 2022 Olympic Games.

Canadian championship results are part of the criteria for selection to the upcoming Four Continents championship in Shanghai and the world championship in Montreal in March, but not the only criteria.

"Missing the Canadian national skating championships does not impact an athlete’s ability to be selected for future events," Skate Canada said in its statement.

Sorensen and Fournier Beaudry were silver medallists at Grand Prix competitions in France and Finland in November and ranked fifth in December's Grand Prix final in Beijing.

The Canadian figure skating championships got underway Tuesday in Calgary with the junior competition. Senior champions will be crowned Saturday.

Over 300 skaters are competing across the junior and senior levels in men's and women's singles, pairs, ice dance and synchronized skating.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 10, 2024.