Mariah Bell allegedly kicked Lim Eun-soo during a warm-up before the ISU World Figure Skating Championships that took place in Japan this Wednesday, March 20. Despite her injuries, Lim, 16, competed — wearing a skin-colored band-aid — as did Bell, 22.
Eun-soo's management agency claimed Bell purposely cut her opponent’s leg during a rehearsal with the rest of the skaters. They allege she was slowly skating on the edge of the rink after completing her turn when Bell came up to her and kicked her calf.
“Mariah Bell, who was scheduled to rehearse after Lim, suddenly kicked and stabbed Lim's calf with her skate blades,” an agent claimed to Agence France-Presse.
“Mariah Bell didn't apologize to Lim Eun-soo after the incident and instead continued to rehearse for her routine.”
New photos published by allkpop.com show Lim holding her calf after the alleged “attack.”
She required medical attention, and after the gash was treated and bandaged, she skated a personal best of 72.91 points. The score placed her in fifth place, just ahead of Bell.
The International Skating Union said it was investigating the incident, but ISU officials said it would be “difficult to prove” Bell's guilt, even after watching the video of the skating practice.
“At this stage we can't conclude Bell caused the injury on purpose,” a Korea Skating Union official said, adding that Lim's parents contacted the board about their daughter’s injury.
With much backlash against Bell on social media, the ISU scheduled a meeting with officials from the Korean Skating Union and the U.S. Figure Skating to discuss the incident this Thursday, March 21.
- American Figure Skater Breaks Silence After Being Accused Of Slashing Rival’s Leg
- Tonya Harding Debuts Brand New Face, Breaks Down Crying Over Failed Figure Skating Career 27 Years After Nancy Kerrigan's Brutal Attack
- Gymnast McKayla Maroney Reveals She Was Left 'Alone, Naked' & 'Bawling' As Convicted Sexual Abuser Larry Nassar Laid On Top Of Her
Bell and Lim both train under coach Rafael Arutyunyan in Los Angeles. The Korean skater's management agency, All That Sports, claimed her American rival has been "bullying Lim for months” leading up to the world championships.
The agency also claimed Bell failed to apologize even after seeing Lim in pain. They requested the Korean Skating Union to receive an official apology from Bell.
At this Thursday’s meeting, the American rep finally delivered an apology on Bell’s behalf, stating the collision was unintentional, and she couldn't apologize at the moment of the accident because her music started and it was her turn to skate.
All That Sports said Lim accepted the apology.
Both skaters are scheduled to compete at the free-skating competition on March 22.