Mariah Bell and Lim Eunsoo are two figure skaters who were involved in a collision on-ice during the official rehearsal for the short program for the 2019 ISU World Championships. A verbal complaint was filed on behalf of Eunsoo against Bell, according to The Washington Post; this complaint alleged “months of bullying” from Bell to Eunsoo, among other things.
Via All That Sports, Eunsoo’s management team, a rep said to All-K Pop that Bell crashed into Eunsoo, leading to a wound on Eunsoo’s left calf. The rep said, “Lim Eunsoo was skating close to the edge as much as possible to not interfere with other skaters. It seems it was intentional, considering how Bell came from behind.” A rep also told Spot TV (though it’s unclear if it’s the same rep), via All-K Pop, “In the past, we believed we should just ignore it but it got severely bad as the championships approached…It wouldn’t have been this bad if she apologized for once.”
In response to the complaint, the ISU released a statement which reads,
“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 USA and Korea and urged both parties to find an amicable solution. The ISU maintains that this remains the appropriate approach.”
Neither Eunsoo nor Bell have addressed the allegations of drama. Fellow ice skating star Adam Rippon, who has a personal relationship to Bell, has called the alleged drama nothing more than “clickbait.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Eunsoo & Bell Collided on the Ice During a Rehearsal for the Short Program
According to a report by All-K Pop, a Korean-focused culture blog, Bell collided into Eunsoo during a rehearsal time for the Women’s Short Program, a portion of the World Championships. Per the publication, the collision took place while Eunsoo was skating on the side of the rink after finishing her “turn”, and Bell was about to begin her own “turn” to rehearse her performance.
At some point during the collision, Bell’s skate allegedly slashed Eunsoo’s left calf, according to a report by Eunsoo’s management team, All That Sports.
To Yonhap News, an All That Sports rep said, “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. Mariah Bell didn’t apologize to Lim Eun-soo after the incident and instead continued to rehearse for her routine.”
It’s unclear if Eunsoo’s injury will prevent her from competing for the rest of the event, which takes place through March 24. You can keep track of the official results from the ISU here.
2. Bell Has Been Called ‘Tonya Harding’ by Angry Twitter Users
Bell, who represents the United States, has been accused of being the new “Tonya Harding” by a number of angry Twitter users. One Twitter user wrote, “Mariah Bell is the next Tonya Harding for what she did to Eunsoo Lim. She is trash.
Another user wrote, “the comments on Mariah Bell’s Instagram calling her tonya harding b*tch I’m HOWLING”
Bell’s Instagram posts have since been filled with comments by similarly angry accounts, with one user writing, “How can anyone tolerate this indecent behavior,” and another user writing, “WTF is wrong with you!? Your an adult and she is only 16!!you need to get your head checked”
Additionally, a Reddit thread has been created with users speculating over the drama.
3. Bell’s Former Training Companion Is Fellow Ice Skating Star Adam Rippon
According to Team USA, Bell has worked with fellow ice skating star Adam Rippon in the past, both with her choreography and her overall routine.
In an interview with US Figure Skating, Bell, who is the 2017 Ladies’ Bronze Medalist, said, “I started skating because my sister was skating, my mom said it was easier to put me in skates than to chase me around the rink. So she put me in skates, and [I] never looked back.”
Bell further explained that she moved out to California from Colorado in order to get the best training. “There’s definitely been some days where I’ve been pretty homesick,” she said, “[But] I’m lucky because I have a lot of great support out in this area too, with my training mates.” She also added that her boyfriend lives in the area as well.
4. After Opening Day of the World Championships, Eunsoo Placed Fifth and Bell Placed Sixth
According to The Washington Post, Eunsoo and Bell opened the World Championships neck and neck, with 16-year-old Eunsoo just edging out Bell for 5th place in the women’s short program results.
In an interview with the International Skating Union in November, Eunsoo said that the coming year would be very important for her professional success. She explained, “This is an important season, because this is my first senior season. It is a new experience to compete with the top skaters.”
She added, “I think junior and senior is different, it is more mature, grown up. I’m now coming to the senior level and I just try to make my skating more senior, not like a baby. I want to be a storyteller and I’m focusing on that. My goal for this season is just to skate clean programs in every competition.”
5. Eunsoo Also Trains Out of California; She Moved There With Her Mother Last Spring
Just like Bell, Eunsoo is currently training out of California, specifically the Los Angeles area. She moved there with her mother in the spring of 2018 in order to advance her ice skating career, she told the International Skating Union in November. She said, “I went to train with Rafael [Arutunian] with my team members before and it is really good for me and then I decided to move to Rafael. I really like L.A. Training there is really good, because there are Nathan (Chen, USA) and Michal (Brezina, CZE) and other good skaters. It really helps to train with good skaters, it is pushing and motivating me.”
Though she moved to California, Eunsoo still represents Korea, where her father lives. As to why she began skating to begin with, the young figure skater explained to the ISU, “I saw Yuna Kim and her costume was so sparkling. I was so young, I just wanted to wear that costume so I started skating. I saw her in a competition on TV. I was six or seven years old.”
Now, Kim will exchange words of wisdom with Eunsoo from time to time. The skater revealed to ISU, “Yuna Kim gives me some advice. Sometimes when I compete she sends me messages and sometimes when I am back in Korea, she teaches me a little.”