Korean figure skater's team claims American hit her with skate during world championship practice

The International Skating Union said that it was made aware of the incident between U.S. skater Mariah Bell and Lim Eun-soo, but that it does not appear Bell intentionally hurt her.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
By Minyvonne Burke

An American figure skater is reportedly being accused of purposefully slashing her South Korean rival in the leg with her skate during a practice for the world championships.

The International Skating Union said in a statement Thursday that it was made aware of the incident between U.S. skater Mariah Bell, 22, and Lim Eun-soo, but that it does not appear Bell intentionally hurt Eun-soo.

Eun-soo's management team, All That Sports, told the Straits Times that the 16-year-old skater was warming-up for the International Skating Union World Championship in Saitama, Japan, on the edge of the rink "as much as possible as to not interfere with other skaters."

Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.

The team claims that as she was practicing Bell came up behind Eun-soo and kicked her in her left calf.

Eun-soo suffered a cut on her leg and had to be treated by staff, according to the outlet.

South Korea's Eunsoo Lim performs in the ladies short program during the 2019 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in the Japanese city of Saitama on March 20, 2019.Nicolas Datiche / AFP - Getty Images

"It seems it was intentional, considering how Bell came from behind," All That Sports said, also claiming that Bell has allegedly bullied Eun-soo for months. Eun-soo's team said it asked the Korea Skating Union to file a formal complaint about the incident.

The International Skating Union said it has not yet received a complaint, but said, "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 ISU met with delegates from both USA and Korea and urged both parties to find an amicable solution," the Union said. "The ISU maintains that this remains the appropriate approach."

Calls by NBC News to Bell were not immediately returned.

One of the biggest sports scandals to involve the figure skating industry was the 1994 attack Nancy Kerrigan, who was struck in the leg at a Detroit ice rink following a practice session before the Olympic trials.

Kerrigan’s rival, Tonya Harding, was later found to be involved in the attack that was carried out by a hitman Harding’s ex-husband hired. As a result, Harding was banned for life by U.S. Figure Skating.