An American figure skater has been accused of deliberately kicking a South Korean during warm-ups at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships, triggering a request for an investigation by the sport’s global governing body and an accusation of bullying.
Mariah Bell, 22, allegedly kicked 16-year-old Lim Eun-Soo, cutting her calf as the two were preparing for the women’s short program on Wednesday night in Saitama, Japan. All That Sports, the agency that represents the Korean skater, told Agence France-Presse that it had asked the Korean Skating Union to lodge a formal complaint on Lim’s behalf with the International Skating Union.
“At this stage, we can’t conclude Bell caused the injury on purpose,” a Korea Skating Union official said, adding that Lim’s parents also mentioned the incident to the ISU. “It is hard to tell just by watching the video footage of the incident.”
Both women train under Rafael Arutunian in Los Angeles and the All That Sports agency claimed that Bell had been “bullying Lim for months”, AFP reported. The sports agency that represents Lim said it believed the act was intentional because Bell collided with Lim from behind as she was skating close to the wall of the rink, away from the rest of the skaters. Lim, competing in her first senior worlds, was treated and competed in the event, scoring a personal-best 72.91 points and placing fifth, just ahead of Bell’s 71.26.