French pole vaulter, Renaud Lavillenie’s Olympic campaign ended in tears and most would attribute it to the silver that he won, but there was a sinister reason behind it.
The 29-year-old was mercilessly booed by the Brazilian crowd when he was collecting his silver medal, predominantly because he had been up against home favourite Thiago Braz.
Lavillenie received the same treatment throughout the competition, compounding his misery as he failed to defend his London 2012 gold to the less-renowned athlete from Brazil in the dramatic final.
He later took to Twitter to express his shock at the despicable crowd, a sentiment echoed by the International Olympics Committee president, Thomas Bach.
No words. pic.twitter.com/ccSL7JQn2c
— Renaud LAVILLENIE OLY (@airlavillenie) August 17, 2016
Braz did try to console the Frenchman, as can be seen in the photo and he even tried to calm the hostile crowd but to no avail.
World record holder Lavillenie lashed out at the “nastiness” of the crowd as he was disturbed by it and he even compared his treatment to that of African-American athlete Jesse Owens in the Nazi-era Berlin Games of 1936.
He later apologised, saying the comparison was made in the heat of the moment after the competition has ended.
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