Former Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan, 56, has come under fire for calling record-breaking Olympian Simone Biles a ‘joke’ after she pulled out of the gymnastics group event in Tokyo on Tuesday
Image: Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)
Piers Morgan has doubled down on his harsh criticism of Simone Biles, and offered up his ‘expert’ advice as she withdrew from the team and all-round events in the Tokyo Olympic games.
The former Good Morning Britain presenter, 56, vented his fury at the record-breaking Olympian after she announced she was standing down from the tournament to focus on her mental health.
The 24-year-old, who is the most successful US gymnast in history, announced she was quitting after being given her worst ever vault score.
Biles said the pressure of being one of the most famous athletes in the world was putting immense pressure on her, and was negatively affecting her mental health.
Her candid comments irked former journalist Morgan, and he took to Twitter to voice his fury at the decorated gymnast’s decision to put her wellbeing first.
“Are ‘mental health issues’ now the go-to excuse for any poor performance in elite sport? What a joke,” he raged.
“Just admit you did badly, made mistakes, and will strive to do better next time. Kids need strong role models not this nonsense.”
On Wednesday, Morgan continued to lambast the young gymnast, and advised Biles to “go for gold” in the individual all-around final.
“You can either listen to snowflake Twitter, @Simone_Biles – or listen to me. You’re a great champion, & great champions get back on their feet when they get knocked down,” he wrote, alongside a picture of him posing with Simone on Good Morning Britain.
“So, re-engage in these Games, win Gold, & inspire with the power of resilience not resignation. Go for it.”
However, Morgan’s advice has come too late, as the four-time Olympic gold medallist announced on Wednesday that she would not be taking part in the individual all-around final.
A statement from Team USA said Biles would be evaluated daily ahead of competing in the finals of the vault and uneven bars on Sunday, floor on Monday, and beam on Tuesday.
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Biles was praised by millions for her decision to pull out of the women’s gymnastics team final, and she confessed that if she’d continued competing in the event, she could’ve seriously injured herself.
“I don’t trust myself as much anymore. Maybe it’s getting older. There were a couple of days when everybody tweets you and you feel the weight of the world,” she explained.
“We’re not just athletes. We’re people at the end of the day and sometimes you just have to step back. I didn’t want to go out and do something stupid and get hurt.
“I feel like a lot of athletes speaking up has really helped,” Biles added, referencing Naomi Osaka, who pulled out of the French Open last month to focus on her mental health.
Morgan was heavily criticised on social media for his disparaging remarks about Biles, with writer Dvaid Gardner suggesting that the ex-editor has a problem with women.
“Piers Morgan has repeatedly defended Paul Gascoigne during his mental health struggles. But he won’t extend the same sympathy to Naomi Osaka, Meghan Markle or Simone Biles. I wonder why,” he tweeted.
Morgan called Osaka an “arrogant spoiled brat” and “petulant little madam” for withdrawing from the French Open, and quit his job on Good Morning Britain after he said he didn’t believe Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, had suicidal thoughts.