This morning’s news of Alistair Brownlee helping his exhausted brother across the finish line in the Triathlon World Series in Mexico sparked thousands of admiring tweets from onlookers across the world.
For historic bickerers Gary Lineker and Piers Morgan, however, the heart-warming story also proved a perfect opportunity to land another dig across the social media ether.
The flames were reignited after Morgan’s initial tweet praising the Brownlees’ “brotherly love”.
Brotherly love. Amazing. https://t.co/gk3I1aK7Mk— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) September 19, 2016
Prompting Lineker’s response, referencing Morgan’s claim during the Rio Olympics that any athlete who hadn’t won gold had effectively “underachieved”.
Wonderful. It's not always about finishing first, Tubs. https://t.co/ygkqT6b4KC— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) September 19, 2016
Things then took a slightly more pointed turn when Morgan reverted to his former position:
He'd rather have won. He said so. https://t.co/T7EFLxzOWr— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) September 19, 2016
and Lineker responded in kind…
Everyone would rather win, but there is so much more to sport than that. https://t.co/WHqSJmmPuA— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) September 19, 2016
Defending his earlier point, Morgan stated that “My only complaint was the modern tendency to celebrate losing. I would always celebrate brotherly love,” before Lineker reminded him: “For many, finishing 2nd or 3rd or even just competing is worthy of celebration. Depends on circumstances.”
And Morgan rebuffed him…
Not for me. I understand why as a Spurs man you would think that though. https://t.co/xiLsH5Bcth— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) September 19, 2016
Morgan, a passionate Arsenal supporter, has often found himself at the sharp end of the pundit’s wit, and Lineker was quick to question Morgan’s thinking by highlighting the recent achievements of the Egyptian Palalympic table tennis star Ibrahim Hamadtou.
Morgan rebuffed Lineker’s example, stating: “Admiration, yes. But why call him a ‘Winner’ he if didn’t win? Just patronising.”
And it didn’t end there…
He's winning at life. A triumph over adversity. Not the slightest bit patronising. https://t.co/31KBfL0Q2E— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) September 19, 2016
I'm sure he would rather be judged on his ability not disability. https://t.co/HyJBemqK4j— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) September 19, 2016
And (yet) again…
Exactly. His ability is truly extraordinary, but to you he's a loser. https://t.co/BiDcdf4CTe— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) September 19, 2016
Still – at least there’s one thing they agree on: the Brownlee brothers’ efforts in Mexico were admirable for a variety of reasons. And in the end, doesn’t that make everyone a winner?
Well – not for Piers.