American figure skater accused of slashing Korean rival's leg ahead of World Championship, ISU determines 'no evidence' of foul play
The incident took place at the final warm-up session ahead of the ladies' short program on the opening day of the World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Japan
A member of the S figure skating team has now been accused of deliberately injuring one of their opponents ahead of the World Championships. The 16-year-old victim, Lim Eun-soo from South Korea, was left with a gash on her left calf after she made contact with one of the skates on 22-year-old Mariah Bell. Even though incidents such as this one are quite common in the sport, Lim's team believes that Bell's actions were intentional. A representative for All That Sports told Yonhap News, a Korean news agency: "Lim was slowly skating on the edge of the rink after completing her turn."
The representative continued: "Mariah Bell, who was scheduled to rehearse after Lim, suddenly kicked and stabbed Lim’s calf with her skate blades."
The incident took place as the final warm-up session was finishing up ahead of the ladies' short program on the opening day of the World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Japan, Newsweek reported.
Lim's representatives added that they had asked the Korean Skating Union to file an official complaint against the 22-year-old figure skater. The official added: "Mariah Bell didn’t apologize to Lim Eun-soo after the incident and instead continued to rehearse for her routine. We believe this is not a minor situation that can happen in an official rehearsal. We have asked the Korea Skating Union to file an official complaint against Mariah Bell for her intentional infliction of Lim Eun-soo’s injury."
Korean officials did lodge a formal complaint on March 21 but suggested that it was too early to speculate whether any action would be taken against Bell if she did mean to intentionally injure her rival. An official for the Korea Skating Union said: "At this stage, we can’t conclude Bell caused the injury on purpose. It is hard to tell just by watching the video footage of the incident."
Lim was eventually able to get on the ice after her calf was patched up and she ended up scoring a personal best of 72.91, which earned her the 5th place in the short program ahead of Bell. Both the young figure skaters are based in Los Angeles and the Korean's entourage had claimed that the 16-year-old was subject to several months of bullying by her American rival.
The Washington Post reported that the International Skating Union (ISU) determined on March 21, however, that there was "no evidence" that Bell had deliberately kicked Lim in the calf causing injury.