Piers Morgan calls US gymnast Simone Biles selfish over Olympic event pullout

The Nation  |  Jul 29, 2021

Prominent British journalist Piers Morgan has faced a severe backlash on Twitter after slamming US superstar Simone Biles' decision to pull out from the women's team final, citing mental health struggles at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday.

​Many social media users accused Morgan of being insensitive towards black athletes, after he lashed out at Biles, calling the American "selfish" and her withdrawal from the event a "joke".

On the other hand, others accused him of bias, saying he has been "sympathetic" towards white athletes during their mental health struggles, including former English footballer Paul Gascoigne in the past.

​"I don't think it's remotely courageous, heroic or inspiring to quit", Morgan stated.

"When you call yourself the GOAT in sport, you can't then quit the moment things get tough or you make a mistake. Something that I'm sure Simone Biles, in her heart, must realize because she's a great champion and great champions just don't do that".

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Accusing Biles of letting her team down, Morgan blamed the 24-year-old for America's failure to win gold in the Japanese capital.

"The world's greatest ever gymnast, a woman who proudly told me how she fought back after making big mistakes to win Gold, just gave up at the first hurdle of these Olympics", Morgan said. 

"She left her team to fight on without their leader and supreme motivational champion, and rather than win the Gold medal they were hot favourites to win, they came second to the Russians".

Morgan also claimed it was Biles' ego that made her withdraw.

"Head star… hmmm, there's that GOAT ego rearing its head again. But if you're going to call yourself the Greatest of All Time and 'head star' then you're putting a lot of that pressure on yourself, aren't you?"

On Tuesday, Biles, widely regarded as the greatest gymnast ever, dropped a bomb at the Olympics after she announced that she'd be withdrawing from the team competition because of her deteriorating mental health and the immense pressure of the Olympics, which was draining her emotionally.

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"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", Biles said after she chose to skip the final.

"Physically, I feel good, I'm in shape", Biles said. "Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming to the Olympics and being head star isn't an easy feat".

"I feel like I'm also not having as much fun. This Olympic Games, I wanted it to be for myself, but I came in and I felt like I was still doing it for other people. It hurts my heart that doing what I love has been kind of taken away from me to please other people", she added.

On Wednesday, Biles announced that she was also opting out of Thursday's women's individual all-round final.

It is pertinent to note that this is not the first time Piers Morgan has waded into controversy over mental health concerns. In May, he criticized Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka after the reigning Australian and US Open champion opted to boycott the media during the French Open as she had been suffering from long bouts of depression.

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