The world of figure skating often heats up with scandals, especially when two ice queens find themselves in opposition. However, an alleged incident between American figure skater Mariah Bell and her South Korean competitor Lim Eun Soo.
During practice on Wednesday night, the two were seen physically colliding on ice. During the incident, Lim suffered an injury from Bell’s ice skates slashing one of her calves. The situation escalated after Lim’s management agency declared that the 22-year-old Bell intentionally impacted and injured her 16-year-old Asian rival.
In a statement to the Washington Post, Lim’s agency claimed “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.” They also added that Bell never apologized in any way to Lim. In another statement to press, they indicated that Lim had been suffering bullying from Bell for months.
Competitive figure skating still remembers the infamous Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding conflict that led to Kerrigan’s leg being assaulted with a police baton by a man affiliated with Harding and her husband.
Lim and Bell are well-acquainted because they both train with the same Los Angeles-based skating coach. Lim’s parents and agency later requested an official investigation into the matter.
While the Korean Skating Union did issue an inquiry, they found little conclusive evidence with one official saying “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.”
As people took to social media to speculate, American Olympic skater and celebrity Adam Rippon weighed in on Twitter, blasting the initial article on the incident as click-bait. In a follow up tweet, he also said that the girls’ coach would never tolerate bullying.
This article is click bait. I’ve been to the rink multiple times and NO ONE has been bullying anyone. Stop creating shit and spreading rumors. What happened in the warm up was an accident. Don’t distract both Eunsoo and Mariah from the competition.
— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) March 20, 2019
In an interview with a Russian paper, coach Rafael Arutyunyan seemed to corroborate that no intentional violence occurred.
The American team also released a statement where they said that the timing of played music prevented Bell from apologizing to Lim in the moment.
Lim went on to score 5th place and an all-time personal best while Bell took 6th.
Via The Cut