U.S. figure skater Mariah Bell has been accused of slashing Korean rival Lim Eun-soo in the leg with her skate during warm-ups at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships this week.
The alleged incident occurred on Wednesday, March 20, while 22-year-old Bell and 16-year-old Lim were practicing for the event in Japan. However, the International Skating Union released a statement on Thursday, saying that there is "no evidence" that Bell intended to harm Lim.
"The ISU has been made aware of a statement published on March 20 by All-That Sports, and subsequently by the Korea Skating Union on March 21 about an incident which happened between Ms. Mariah Bell and Ms. Eun Soo Lim, during their practice on March 20 at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships," the ISU statement begins. "The incident was verbally reported to the ISU by the Korean Team Leader however no formal complaint has been received."
"Based on the evidence at hand at this point in time, which includes a video, there is no evidence that Ms. Bell intended any harm to Ms. Lim," the statement continues. "The ISU met with delegates from both USA and Korea and urged both parties to find an amicable solution. The ISU maintains that this remains the appropriate approach."
Lim's management team, All That Sports, told the Straits Times that Lim had been skating close to the edge of the rink "as much as possible so as to not interfere with other skaters."
According to Lim's team, Bell allegedly came up from behind and kicked Lim in her left calf.
"It seems it was intentional, considering how Bell came from behind," Lim's management has claimed, adding that Bell had been bullying Lim, with who she shares a coach, prior to the collision.
Lim was treated and was later spotted with a bandage on her left calf. Despite the injury, Lim was able to compete and ranked fifth in the Short Program, one spot ahead of Bell.