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03rd Aug 2021

Michael Johnson shuts down Piers Morgan in Olympic medal debate

Charlie Herbert

“Winning any medal is incredible.”

One of the greatest runners of all time, Michael Johnson, has responded in the debate over whether gold medals are the only ones that should be celebrates.

The conversation kicked off on Twitter near the start of the Olympics when Piers Morgan tweeted that we should “stop pretending bronze is an achievement worthy of national celebration,” and that real champions “don’t celebrate coming 3rd.”

Now obviously, it is completely up to the competitor to decide what is worthy of celebration, and not an ex-Good Morning Britain presenter.

For some, a bronze medal at an Olympics may be beyond their wildest dreams and proof that the years and years of work and pain have been worth it. Others may be only aiming for gold and could be gutted with a silver or bronze. It’s individual.

But the debate raged on and, with Piers Morgan being Piers Morgan, he didn’t back down.

However, on Monday Michael Johnson waded into the debate. Michael Johnson, the four-time Olympic gold medallist, eight-time World Championships gold medallist, the only man to have ever won the 200m and 400m at the same Olympics, and the only man to have ever successfully defended an Olympic 400m title.

So a man who has just a bit of authority in the athletics world.

His view on medals? It doesn’t matter on the colour, any medal at an Olympics is an incredible achievement. And, without naming names, he had a little dig at those “whose only sport is stirring up sh*t.”

He tweeted: “Putting this to rest! Winning ANY Olympic is incredible. I was always favoured for 1st so 2nd 3rd would be disappointing. But if I were a projected finalist, 3rd is a win!

“Don’t listen to people whose only sport is stirring up sh*t. Regardless how many followers they have.”

And when Michael Johnson speaks on matters of athletics, you listen.

Beijing 2008 boxing bronze medallist Tony Jeffries agreed with Johnson. He told JOE how just making it to an Olympics is an achievement in itself and that to then win a medal is “unbelievable.”

He said: “It’s so hard to get to an Olympics it really is. Anyone who gets to an Olympics and doesn’t come back with a medal, they’ve got that Olympian status for the rest of their life. It’s the pinnacle of sport, you’ve got to be an amazing athlete to get there.

“So anyone that’s getting there that’s an achievement in itself and something to be really really proud of. Then to come away with a medal is unbelievable. It means you’re the best of the best no matter what colour the medal is.”

Now of course, you’re more than welcome to disagree with this, you have that right. But you have to realise that you’re wrong.

When 99% of athletes and people who have actually competed at top level sport are all saying the same thing, you need to realise that maybe they are better placed to know the dedication, work, and commitment that goes into getting to an Olympics, let alone finishing in the top three.

Or you can listen to Piers Morgan and Jeremy Clarkson. You’re choice.