French Olympian compares Rio crowd to Nazis at 1936 Berlin Olympics

Pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie tweeted an apology for "bad comparison."

August 16, 2016 11:49
1 minute read.
Renaud Lavillenie

France's Renaud Lavillenie reacts after missing his final attempt during the Men's Pole Vault Final during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 15, 2016. (photo credit: FRANCK FIFE / AFP)


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2012 pole vault  Olympic gold medalist Renaud Lavillenie lost the gold to Brazilian Thiago Braz Da Silva on Monday and had some harsh words for the Brazilian crowd afterward.

The French athlete voiced his frustration after the tournament and compared the Brazilian fans who booed him to Nazi fans who booed Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

"In 1936, the crowd was against Jesse Owens. We've not seen this since. We have to deal with it,"  Sky Sports quoted Lavillenie as saying.

"Better to stay at home in front of your television than come and whistle. At least then we'd have people in the stadium who want to watch sport. It really disturbed me, I felt the nastiness of the public and we do a sport where you never see that."

"I completely understand that the Brazilians are behind Thiago, that's totally normal. But what is not normal is the total lack of respect for the rivals. The least thing, if you don't like someone, is to ignore them, but not to insult them. Because I took that as an insult."

After realizing that his comparison was offensive, Lavillenie tweeted an apology: "Yes, sorry for the bad comparison I made, It was a hot reaction and I realize it was wrong. Sorry to everyone," the Independent reported.

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