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Athlete who criticized USOC in KOAA interview is suspended - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Athlete who criticized USOC in KOAA interview is suspended

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Olympian Keith Sanderson was suspended Tuesday by USA Shooting for alleged violations of the Athlete Code of Conduct Olympian Keith Sanderson was suspended Tuesday by USA Shooting for alleged violations of the Athlete Code of Conduct
COLORADO SPRINGS -

Just weeks after making critical statements against the US Olympic Committee in an interview with News 5, pistol shooter Keith Sanderson has been suspended by USA Shooting. The three-time Olympian is currently ranked third in the world in his individual sport. He was given a Notice of Disciplinary Action Tuesday which alleges he violated the Athlete Code of Conduct on eight separate occasions. 

Some of the violations date back at least a year, yet Sanderson said he was just informed of them today.  He also said one allegation is demonstrably false. The notice states "Red Bull Suicide video incident - date unknown." Sanderson said he is accused of showing a video to a sponsor that was reportedly posted on his Facebook account, but Sanderson doesn't have a Facebook account.

Sanderson was elected by fellow athletes in USA Shooting to serve on that National Governing Body's board of directors. He's also a member of the Athlete Advisory Council, which is the group within the Olympic movement that represents athletes interests to the broader US Olympic Committee. 

Sanderson has been vocal about wanting to institute reforms that give athletes a stronger voice in Olympic sports. Two weeks ago, he told News 5 that he believes systemic reforms are needed within the structure of USOC because of the "monopoly" on access to the games controlled by the National Governing Bodies. 

"Our interview might have been the icing on the cake," Sanderson said.  "I have been pretty vocal about fighting for athlete rights and transparency and that I  strongly believe my primary fiduciary responsibility as a member of the Athlete Advisory Council and as a board member of the USA Shooting Board  of directors, and as an athlete, is to protect athlete rights."

Sanderson reached out the Office of the Athlete Ombudsman who is supposed to advocate for athletes in conflicts with their NGBs.  He said she provided him with a list of pro-bono attorneys to try and help him defend himself.

The USA Shooting Rifle and Pistol Spring Selection begins March 26 at Fort Benning, Georgia. Sanderson told us he is prevented from entering the Olympic Training Center to pick up his competition pistol.

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