Good Morning Britain presenter Alex Beresford has defended Simone Biles for her decision to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The presenter was fronting Thursday’s show of the ITV breakfast programme alongside co-star Charlotte Hawkins.
Speaking with guests journalist Nadine Batchelor-Hunt and broadcaster Iain Dale, Alex and Charlotte discussed the day's headlines including the issue of gymnast Simone Biles’ recent withdrawal from the Olympics Games in Tokyo, Japan for mental health reasons.
“It’s clear something wasn’t right from the start of this Olympics,” noted Nadine of Simone’s performance.
Alex later said: “On a serious note, it can be quite dangerous, you know if you’re not mentally prepared to go into a difficult routine you could really hurt yourself.”
In response, Iain noted: “Over the last 48 hours, the people who are questioning her. What right has anyone got to question somebody who is clearly in a very traumatic state at the moment?
“I think it’s outrageous that people think they can do this and almost revel in the controversy. I just think it’s wrong.”
Charlotte noted: “It’s her safety that’s at stake, you know, she’s got to make that judgement, hasn’t she?
Nadine commented: “She really has achieved everything and I don’t think there’s any doubt in anyone’s mind that if she had competed she would have won any of the things she was tipped to win.”
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Alex later noted that Simone was competing in “some very tough circumstances”, commenting: “It’s very well known that USA gymnastics have been in some very dark times over the last few years.
“Simone Biles was there all the way through that. To deal with that and also the pandemic, it’s actually a true testament that she was actually there in the first place.”
Dr Hilary Jones also opined: “You can’t perform at that level unless your health is absolutely right.”
Image:AFP via Getty Images)
Simone tweeted: “the outpouring love & support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before.”
She previously said of her decision to withdraw: "We have to protect our minds and our bodies and not just go out and do what the world wants us to do.
"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.
The gymnast has controversially come under fire in recent days from Alex’s former GMB colleague Piers Morgan, who has controversially blasted her withdrawal on Twitter and in his Daily Mail column.
Piers tweeted and penned in his column: “Sorry Simone Biles, but there’s nothing heroic or brave about quitting because you’re not having ‘fun’ – you let down your team-mates, your fans and your country”.
He later tweeted in response to criticism of his comments: "No, I take mental illness very seriously. What I don't like is people cynically using 'mental health' as a protective shield against any poor performance or justified criticism.
“It distracts attention from those with mental illness who need help/care/treatment.”
*Good Morning Britain airs on weekday mornings from 6am to 9am on ITV with past episodes on ITV Hub.