Outspoken British commentator Piers Morgan has weighed in on US star athlete Simone Biles' decision to quit the women's team gymnastics final in Tokyo.
Biles made the decision just minutes into the event, later telling reporters that she had been battling mental health issues and "fighting all those demons".
"It's just me in my head," she said. "I have to focus on my mental health and not jeopardise my health and wellbeing.
"We have to protect our body and our mind.
"It's very unfortunate this has to happen at this stage ... it just sucks when you're fighting with your own head."
Morgan, who has not been shy about sharing his opinions on this year's Olympics, took aim squarely at Biles' decision in a widely criticised tweet.
"Are 'mental health issues' now the go-to excuse for any poor performance in elite sport?" Morgan asked.
"What a joke. Just admit you did badly, made mistakes, and will strive to do better next time. Kids need strong role models, not this nonsense."
The comment prompted widespread outrage on Twitter, and Morgan was urged to educate himself on mental health issues.
"No Piers mental health and having a good 'mentality' has an absolute correlation to performance in sport or in life for that matter," one person wrote.
"Chill on this my guy," another said. "We never know what people are going through, mentally."
Morgan doubled down, and blamed social media.
"Athletes are now deemed more courageous, inspiring & heroic if they lose or quit then if they win or tough it out, which is ridiculous," he fumed.
"I blame Twitter's virtue-signallers for fuelling this culture of celebrating weakness. The real world doesn't think like that."
Some took him to task for criticising Biles' decision to walk away given the public tantrum that saw him quit British TV show Good Morning Britain earlier this year.
But Morgan batted away critics with a sarcastic response.
World in shock over Biles drama
Nobody could quite believe what they'd seen from the undisputed queen of gymnastics, who has done things in the sport nobody thought possible.
American Olympics reporter Callie Caplan said Biles "looked near tears as she walked off the podium" following her first vault.
"Simone Biles got lost in the air during her last warm-up vault and bailed out of the Amanar early. She just did the same during competition, completing 1.5 twists instead of 2.5," Caplan tweeted.
Shelia O'Connor added: "Did … did Simone Biles just bail out of her vault?" with a shocked hands-on-face emoji.
US sports columnist Nancy Armour said: "OMG. Simone bailed out of the Amanar, does a 1.5. Nearly lands it on her knees. And looks as if she's about to cry as she comes off the podium, Cecile immediately goes and puts arm around her."
American TV presenter Hoda Kotb said "the place was just stunned" at the unexpected development.
The plot thickened when Biles soon walked off the competition floor with a team trainer, sparking speculation she'd suffered an injury.
Her teammates walked over to the uneven bars and were forced to compete without her. Chiles was supposed to sit out the bars portion of the night but had to scramble to take part because of Biles' absence.
Before moving on to the beam, USA Gymnastics confirmed Biles had withdrawn from the competition.
In the final stages of the bars, Biles returned to the floor but had put her white team tracksuit on because she was done for the night. She walked with the team around to the beam and supported her comrades as they tried to claw their way up the leaderboard.
Just because Biles was out of action it didn't mean she wasn't going to contribute. She cheered louder than anyone as she encouraged Team USA to power on towards a medal.
The rest of the team's mood wasn't dampened as they rose to the challenge. They hugged Biles and the quartet engaged in animated chats, looking like they were having the time of their lives.
Coach Cecile Landi also showed her star pupil plenty of love, as did those members of the media allowed in the stands.
There were awesome scenes at the end of the night as Biles celebrated on the podium with her teammates.
- Additional reporting, news.com.au