An American figure skater was accused of bullying and purposely cutting a South Korean skater during warm-ups at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Japan on Wednesday.
Mariah Bell, 22, allegedly kicked competitor Lim Eun-soo, 16, during warm-ups before the women’s short program competition, the South Korean skater's management agency claimed, according to the AFP. Lim, who is competing in her first senior world championships, received medical attention, was treated and was able to compete.
The South Korean teen ended up scoring 72.91 points, a personal best, to take fifth place in the short program. Bell finished in sixth place with 71.26 points.
An official for All That Sports, Lim’s management agency, told Yonhap News that Lim was “slowly skating on the edge of the rink after completing her turn” when Bell, who was slated to warm-up after her, “suddenly kicked and stabbed Lim’s calf with her skate blades.”
“Mariah Bell didn’t apologize to Lim Eun-soo after the incident and instead continued to rehearse for her routine,” the official told Yonhap News.
Bell, who trains under the same coach as Lim, was accused of “bullying Lim for months,” All That Sports agency claimed, according to local media.
The agency told AFP that they asked the Korean Skating Union to file a complaint with the International Skating Union regarding the incident.
"At this stage we can't conclude Bell caused the injury on purpose," a Korean Skating Union official told AFP. "It is hard to tell just by watching the video footage of the incident."
Social media users appeared to be divided on the incident.
“The problem with Mariah Bell was that she was skating too close to the edge and her blade stabbed into Eunsoo’s leg. Putting all bullying rumors aside, shouldn’t she have apologized? I get that athletes on that level are very 'in' their moment once they start to compete,” a social media user tweeted.
“People stop harassing Mariah Bell on [Instagram] 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 judgments. What if it turns out that Mariah is in fact innocent?” another tweet read.