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‘No evidence’ American figure skater deliberately slashed a South Korean competitor

Lim Eun-Soo of South Korea performs during the women's short program in the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Japan. (Andy Wong/Associated Press)
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The International Skating Union determined Thursday that there was “no evidence” that an American figure skater had deliberately kicked a South Korean competitor during warm-ups at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships, an accusation that triggered a request for an investigation by the sport’s governing body.

Mariah Bell, 22, allegedly cut the calf of 16-year-old Lim Eun-Soo with the blade of her skate as the two were preparing for the women’s short program Wednesday night in Saitama, Japan, and All That Sports, the agency that represents the Korean skater, told Agence France-Presse that it had asked the Korea Skating Union to lodge a formal complaint on Lim’s behalf with the ISU. “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.”

The ISU concurred, saying in a statement that “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 ISU met with delegates from both [the] USA and Korea and urged both parties to find an amicable solution. The ISU maintains this remains the appropriate approach.”

Both women train under the same coach in Los Angeles and the All That Sports agency claimed that Bell had been “bullying Lim for months,” AFP reported. The agency 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. Neither woman has commented on the matter.

“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,” an All That Sports official told Yonhap News. “Mariah Bell didn’t apologize to Lim Eun-Soo after the incident and instead continued to rehearse for her routine.”

The official added, “We believe this is not a minor situation that can happen in an official rehearsal."

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