Michael Johnson hits back at Simone Biles critics in thinly-veiled attack on Piers Morgan

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File: Michael Johnson, a four-time Olympic gold medal winner, is regarded as one of the greatest athletes of all time (AFP via Getty)
File: Michael Johnson, a four-time Olympic gold medal winner, is regarded as one of the greatest athletes of all time (AFP via Getty)

Four-time Olympic gold medal winner Michael Johnson on Monday lashed out at critics of gymnast Simone Biles, who attacked her decision to withdraw from several competitions at the Tokyo Games citing mental health concerns.

In the tweet, Johnson compared winning silver and bronze medals to be “a win” if athletes were projected finalists.

“Don’t listen to people whose only sport is stirring up s**t. Regardless how many followers they have,” he said in the tweet. 

The tweet caught the attention of former Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan, who has been a severe critic of Biles and many other high-profile women of colour, including Naomi Osaka and Meghan Markle.

Morgan reacted to Johnson’s comments in several tweets, fixating on the first part of the athlete’s tweet, where he speculated that it would be “disappointing” for him to win a silver or bronze as he was “always favoured for [gold]”.

“Putting this to rest! Winning ANY Olympic [medal emoji] is incredible. I was always favoured for [gold medal emoji] so [silver and bronze medal emojis] would be disappointing,” he said.

“To all weak whiny wokies still banging on about why losing at the Olympics is so fantastic and should be wildly celebrated, I present Michael ‘GOAT’ Johnson’s Twitter name & bio,” wrote Morgan in one of the tweets.

In another tweet, Morgan said Johnson “agreed with me that real champions are disappointed coming 2nd or 3rd. That’s why his Twitter name is Gold and his bio boasts he won zero silver or bronze medals.”

“As I said, no real champion wants to come 2nd or 3rd,” said Morgan in yet another tweet, replying directly to Johnson, who has not reacted to any of Morgan’s tweets yet.

Johnson had, in a previous tweet on 27 July, said Biles’s withdrawal from the team competition was a “huge blow” to the US team and wondered if she was “okay for the individual competition.”

Morgan has often faced backlash for not being as critical towards white, male sportsmen. He rejected such arguments after being mocked for not criticising British cricketer Ben Stokes, who said he was going to miss the England cricket team’s upcoming series against India and be absent from from the T20 World and Ashes tournaments as well.

“If he quit in the middle of a Test match with no physical injury, leaving his teammates in the lurch like Simon Biles did, and complained he wasn’t having enough ‘fun’, then I would have said that,” he wrote in a tweet.

Critics, however, pointed out similar other instances where he disparaged a woman of colour and did not focus his criticism on their male counterparts.

Writer David Gardner, in a 27 July tweet, pointed out how Morgan defended footballer Paul Gascoigne, but labeled Osaka an “arrogant spoiled brat” and “petulant little madam” for withdrawing from the French Open for mental health reasons.

Watch: Simone Biles returns with stunning routine at balance beam final

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