It’s the biggest skating drama since Blades of Glory.
A member of the US figure skating team has been accused of deliberately injuring her rival at the World Championships in Japan.
South Korea’s Lim Eun-soo was left with a calf injury after making contact with Mariah Bell while skating during a warm-up session.
Lim’s management alleges Bell kicked the skater, cutting her leg, on purpose.
A representative for the agency, All That Sports, claimed Bell had been bullying Kim for months and did not apologise for the collision, according to The Telegraph.
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.
Lim, who is 16-years-old, was treated for her injury and competed later in the day.
She finished the day fifth – one place ahead of Bell, who is 22.
Although we could not find footage of the incident, there are pictures that show Bell skating close to Lim before she was injured.
Rafael Arutyunyan, who coaches both skaters, denied there had been any conflict between them and said he did not believe the collision was intentional.
The fact is that Mariah has a movement in this place of the program, which she very much pulls back her leg and pulls her out. So it turned out that she slightly struck the skate blade on Einsu Lim. Of course, it was not intentional.
There were no disagreements between these athletes in the training session at all. I didn’t even see Mariah. Was this girl capable of offending anyone? I don’t imagine who would even think of writing this.
Team USA skater Adam Rippon also jumped to Bell's defence:
And the International Skating Union (ISU) has released a statement saying “there is no evidence that Ms Bell intended any harm to Ms Lim” and urged both sides to come to an amicable solution.
Nevertheless, skating Twitter had some very strong opinions about the collision.
Some people drew comparisons with Tonya Harding, who became the centre of a controversy when her ex-husband orchestrated an attack on Nancy Kerrigan, a fellow US skater.
Following the accusations, Bell’s Instagram has been flooded with abusive comments, many of which have attacked her personal appearance.
Neither skater has personally commented on the incident yet.
Frankly, it’s all a bit of a mess…