Figure skating-Australian Kerry to appeal US sexual misconduct ban

FILE PHOTO: 2022 Beijing Olympics - Figure Skating - Men Single Skating - Free Skating - Capital Indoor Stadium, Beijing, China - February 10, 2022. Brendan Kerry of Australia before competing. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/File Photo

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australian Olympic figure skater Brendan Kerry has said he will appeal against a life-time ban in the United States for sexual misconduct involving a minor.

The U.S. Center for SafeSport banned Kerry from any events or activities controlled by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) in a ruling on Tuesday.

Kerry denied wrongdoing and said he would contest the ban.

"After hearing nothing from the U.S. Center for SafeSport for almost three years ... I received their decision with no advance warning whatsoever, sanctioning me for alleged violations that I did not commit," he said in a statement published by Australian media on Thursday.

"That decision is not final and I intend to challenge this suspension and request arbitration before a neutral arbitrator as is my right."

Kerry, 29, competed at three Winter Olympics and was one of Australia's two flagbearers at the opening ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Games, his last major international competition.

He was a registered coach with U.S. Figure Skating in the 2016-17 season, when the misconduct was alleged to have occurred.

The U.S. Center for SafeSport was established in 2017 with the aim of protecting athletes, particularly minors, from sexual abuse in Olympic sports programmes in the United States.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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