Did US figure skater, Mariah Bell deliberately slash South Korean rival, Lim Eun Soo during ISU world championships warm-ups?
An American figure skater has been accused of deliberately slashing her South Korean rival just before the world championships.
Mariah Bell, 22, has been accused of kicking Lim Eun-soo, 16, during a warm-up before they were set to skate at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Japan on Wednesday.
Lim’s management agency claims Bell kicked the teen skater, causing a cut to her leg, while the women were rehearsing before the women’s short program.
Lim, who was skating in her first senior world championships, was patched up before scoring a personal-best 72.91 points.
She placed fifth in the short skate at Saitama, just ahead of Bell, who fell during her program.
The International Skating Union are now set to investigate the claims.
But ISU officials said it would be ‘difficult to prove’ intent on Bell’s part and refused to speculate what action, if any, they would take.
‘At this stage we can’t conclude Bell caused the injury on purpose,’ a Korea Skating Union official said, adding that Lim’s parents also brought the clash to the body’s attention.
‘It is hard to tell just by watching the video footage of the incident,’ they added.
Lim’s All That Sports agency said there was reason to believe Bell’s act was deliberate, claiming Lim was skating close to the rink wall away from her rivals and the American collided with her from behind.
Lim Eun Soo management team accuse Bell of bullying Korean skater for months.
Of note- the Washington Post reported Bell and Lim both train under coach Rafael Arutyunyan in Los Angeles. The Korean skater’s management alleged that Bell has been ‘bullying Lim for months’ leading up to the world championships.
‘Lim was slowly skating on the edge of the rink after completing her turn. Mariah Bell, who was scheduled to rehearse after Lim, suddenly kicked and stabbed Lim’s calf with her skate blades,’ an All That Sports official told Yonhap News. ‘Mariah Bell didn’t apologize to Lim Eun-soo after the incident and instead continued to rehearse for her routine.’
The official added, ‘We believe this is not a minor situation that can happen in an official rehearsal.’
The incident has since led to social media vocally responding.
‘The problem with Mariah Bell was that she was skating too close to the edge and her blade stabbed into Eunsoo’s leg,’ tweeted one fan. ‘Putting all bullying rumors aside, shouldn’t she have apologized?’
The world of figure skating is no stranger to controversy, most notably when American Tonya Harding‘s ex-husband and bodyguard arranged an attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan in the run-up to the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.
Plenty of skating fans came out in support of Bell, while others called for calm.
‘First of all people need to CALM DOWN and analyze,’ suggested one Twitter user.
‘Why would a veteran skater like Bell injure someone during a PUBLIC PRACTICE in front of hundreds of fans? None of the fans, who were taking notes, said ANYTHING about a collision.’
Olympic champion Alina Zagitova leads the standings heading into Friday’s free skate at the world championships in Saitama.
I want to weigh in on the Mariah Bell/ Eunsoo Lim situation. I really don’t want this to be true. did she not learn anything from Tonya Hardin? is Mariah stupid enough to attack another opponent in plain sight and potentially injure herself in the process? I hope not
— Alfonso Cuarón Updates (Claudia) (@thewaitisogre) March 21, 2019
People stop harassing Mariah Bell on ig before all the facts getting cleared out. Those comments are just atrocious and show how vile humans can be. Wait for the official statements and then make your judgements. What if it turns out that Mariah is in fact innocent?
— blue juniper (@Elias_Andvari) March 21, 2019
Omg do people actually believe Mariah Bell would actually bully someone!? She’s so sweet and wouldn’t hurt a fly. I’m not saying it’s Lim Eun Soo’s fault either. I think it was an accident and her management team is taking advantage of it saying it was on purpose! Bloody hell 🙄
— charlie 🌻 (@pyschestar) March 21, 2019