Piers Morgan has angered sports stars and presenters including Gary Lineker and Gabby Logan after a series of tweets claiming that Bronze medals shouldn't be celebrated and that nobody cares about the Tokyo Olympics.
The former Good Morning Britain presenter aired his views about the current Olympic Games, postponed from 2020, on Twitter where he argued that they should have either been delayed further or cancelled.
In his first inflammatory post, Morgan wrote: "Nobody cares about these covid-ravaged Olympics. I feel incredibly sorry for all the athletes still trying to live their Olympic dream, but that is the harsh reality. And the great champions like @adam_peaty know it. It should have been either further postponed or cancelled."
However, former Olympian Liz McColgan replied: "If you had trained for 4-5 years for this opportunity you would realize it has importance."
BBC sports presenter Gabby Logan also responded: "I think you are wrong Piers. I think some people do care. You might not, but I don’t think you speak for everyone."
As Morgan argued that it had been ruined by the lack of fans and athletes dropping out due to COVID, Logan asked him: "So it’s on for wealthy sport to continue, no fans and covid affected fixtures i.e Premier League last year. But for largely amateur/state funded sports who rely on the Olympic cycle to continue training we can’t support them just this once? It’s not the same, but very little is."
Ex-footballer and BBC presenter Gary Lineker, who previously fell out with him over comments about tennis player Emma Raducanu, also hit back at Morgan, tweeting: "You’re wrong on this one. It’s exhilarating, uplifting and inspiring. Exactly what’s needed in these most depressing of times."
But Morgan mocked him: "Jugs, you find opening a crisp packet uplifting & inspiring. It's great to see @TeamGB athletes win Gold medals, not least so we can stop pretending Bronze is an achievement worthy of national celebration, but let's be honest - these Olympics are just not the same without fans."
Things escalated further when people picked him up on his statement about "pretending Bronze is an achievement" and he tweeted: "Real sporting champions don't celebrate coming 3rd."
Lineker told him: "To be in the top 3 in the entire world in your sport is an outstanding achievement."
But Morgan shot back: "Words you would never hear from Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps…. true sporting achievement is about winning, not losing."
He also controversially added: "I don’t think Silver and Bronze medals are shameful, but no real champion would ever feel comfortable having one in their trophy cabinet."
As Kelly Sotherton, who won three Olympic Bronze medals for the heptathlon, called him out on his comments, he told her: "Sorry, Kelly.. I know you’re a serial Bronzer but I only celebrate Gold medals."
Morgan recently revealed he had tested positive for COVID-19 after watching the Euros final at Wembley and had previously criticised the "boring" Olympic opening ceremony which aired on Friday afternoon.
Watch: Lorraine Kelly has 'no doubt' Piers Morgan will return to Good Morning Britain