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Rio Olympics 2016: Booing of pole-vaulting star shocking, IOC boss

Athletics legends Sebastian Coe and Sergey Bubka comforted distraught French pole-vaulting 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 it as "shocking".

Lavillenie - who hit out at the host nation's fans for their conduct during the pole-vault final - held his head in his hands but could not stop tears streaming down his face as he stood on the podium after receiving his silver medal.

In a private room after, the 2012 Olympic gold medallist was consoled by international athletics chief Coe, Bach and pole-vault legend Bubka, an IAAF vice-president.

Bach said later on Twitter 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 the French athlete, who lost his Olympic crown to unknown Brazilian Thiago Braz da Silva in a dramatic final.

"It's disgusting, there is a total lack of fair-play and I want to stress 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."

Lavillenie's final attempts 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 African American athlete 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 later apologised 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 organisers 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," chief spokesman Mario Andrada said.

"We plan to intensify our dialogue with Brazilian fans through social networks to make sure that we behave as fans in a proper and elegant manner, without losing the passion for sport."

Appeals for silence were made before each race at the Olympic stadium yesterday.

Lavillenie is not the first Olympic athlete to be given a hard time by Brazilian fans.

French heavyweight judoka Teddy Riner was booed after beating local hero Rafael Silva in their quarter-final.

Brazilians also jeered other teams at the gymnastics and chanted "Zika" at US and Swedish women's football team goalkeepers during games. And Brazilian and Argentinian fans fought at the tennis event, in scenes rarely witnessed in the sport elsewhere.

"It is a combination of two things," said Victor Melo, head of the history of sport department at Rio de Janeiro Federal University.

"First, the Brazilians are always boisterous supporters, this is a public party. And they might not be used to the sports they are watching," he added.

"You have to expect some behaviour that is not in line with the rules and traditions of the sport. And Brazilians never behave like Europeans," Melo declared.AFP

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