Shocking and unacceptable: IOC boss Thomas Bach slams Brazilian fans for taunting tearful Lavillenie
French pole vault star booed again on medal podium as he receives silver medal
Athletics legends Sebastian Coe and Sergey Bubka comforted distraught French pole vault star Renaud Lavillenie after he was booed for the second day by a hostile Brazilian crowd on the Olympic medal podium.
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach slammed the behaviour as “shocking”.
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Lavillenie, who hit out at the host nation’s fans for their conduct during Monday’s pole vault final, held his head in his hands but could not hold back the tears which streamed down his face as he stood on the podium after receiving his silver medal.
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In a private room afterwards, the 2012 Olympic gold medallist was consoled by international athletics chief Coe, Bach and pole vault legend Bubka, an IAAF vice-president.
After leaving Lavillenie, Bach said on Twitter that it was “shocking behaviour for the crowd to boo Renaud Lavillenie on the medal podium. Unacceptable behaviour at the Olympic Games”.
The ceremony completed a miserable 24 hours for Lavillenie, who on Monday lost his Olympic crown to unknown Brazilian pole vaulter Thiago Braz da Silva in a dramatic final.
“It’s disgusting, there is a total lack of fair play and I want to stress that the Brazilian is not involved at all,” Lavillenie told French television after coming out of his encounter with Coe, Bach and Bubka.
“But I am going to move on,” he said.
Lavillenie’s final attempts in Monday’s competition were marked by deafening booing and catcalls as he prepared to jump.
The world record-holder later slammed the home fans, comparing it to the treatment meted out to Jesse Owens in the Nazi-era 1936 Berlin Games.
“In 1936 the crowd was against Jesse Owens. We’ve not seen this since. We have to deal with it,” Lavillenie said, before later apologising for the heat-of-the-moment comment.
“It really disturbed me, I felt the nastiness of the public and we do a sport where you never see that,” Lavillenie fumed.
Rio 2016 organisers on Tuesday agreed the Brazilian fans’ treatment of Lavillenie had crossed a line.
“As citizens of Brazil and as sports fans we don’t think booing is the right attitude, even when you are in a one-to-one competition and a young Brazilian has the chance to beat the world champion,” Rio 2016 chief spokesman Mario Andrada said.
“We plan to intensify our dialogue with Brazilian fans through social networks to make sure we behave as fans in a proper and elegant manner, without losing the passion for sport.”