US Figure Skater Mariah Bell Under Investigation for Allegedly Slashing Korean Rival Lim Eun-soo
American figure skater Mariah Bell is under investigation after she was accused of deliberately cutting the leg of her South Korean competitor, Lim Eun-soo.
According to an official with Eun-soo's agency, All That Sports, who spoke to the Yonhap News Agency, the alleged accident occurred on Wednesday as the competing figure skaters were attending a warm-up practice for the World Figure Skating Championships.
Bell, 22, had been in the middle of a practice session for her short program when she allegedly came up behind Eun-soo, 16, and kicked her with her skate blade, causing a cut to her leg. The official for Eun-soo's agency claims the act was deliberate and that Bell had been "bullying Lim for months."
Following the incident, All That Sports requested that the Korean Skating Union file a formal complaint on Eun-soo's behalf with the International Skating Union (ISU), though in a statement on Thursday, the ISU claimed that no formal complaint had yet been filed as there was insufficient evidence.
"Based on the evidence at hand in this point in time, which includes a video, there is no evidence that Ms. Bell intended any harm to Ms. Lim," the statement read. "The ISU met with delegates from both USA and Korea and urged both parties to find an amicable solution. The ISU maintains that this remains the appropriate approach."
Both Bell and Eun-soo train in Lakewood, California with Rafael Arutunian, who defended Bell to Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
"There were no disagreements between these athletes in the training session at all," he said. "Of course it was not intentional."
The allegations have also been questioned by Olympic figure skater and Dancing With the Stars alum Adam Rippon, who stated on Twitter that "NO ONE has been bullying anyone." He also claimed that incident "was an accident."
"Mariah and Eunsoo are competitive and train all the time together at home. Bullying is something Rafael would never tolerate," he added in a second tweet.
Rippon also called a Korean news article in which Eun-soo's agency called the incident premeditated "click bait."
Neither Eun-soo not Bell have commented on the allegations, which have drawn comparisons to the incident that occurred between American skating rivals Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan in 1994.
Despite the incident, Eun-soo went on to compete later in the day with a band-aid on her leg, still managing to earn her personal best score as she placed in fifth. Bell finished sixth.0comments