Skip To Content
  • Viral badge
  • Olympics badge

This Pole Vault Star Broke Down In Tears When He Was Booed On The Podium

Renaud Lavillenie was jeered by an onlooking crowd of Brazilian fans as he received his silver medal for the men's pole vault.

French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie could not contain his emotions during the pole vault medal ceremony at the Rio Olympics Tuesday night.

Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty Images
Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty Images

The Frenchman, who is the current world record holder, was in tears as he was awarded the silver medal amid boos and whistles from Brazilian fans.

On Monday night, Lavillenie was beaten by Brazil's Thiago Braz da Silva, who won the host nation's third gold medal for this year's games in the process. The vocal home crowd booed Lavillenie throughout his attempts. In reaction, Lavillenie compared the crowd's treatment of him to how the Nazi Germany crowd acted during the 1936 Olympics in Berlin towards American track and field athlete Jesse Owens.

“In 1936 the crowd was against Jesse Owens,” he said. "We’ve not see this since. We have to deal with it.”

Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images

Lavillenie has since taken to Twitter to apologise.

Yes, sorry for the bad comparaison I made. It was a hot reaction and I realize it was wrong. Sorry to everyone.

IAAF president Lord Sebastian Coe consoled Levillenie following the presentation.

Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty Images

Lavillenie's tears on the podium prompted IOC president Thomas Bach to condemn the "shocking" actions of the crowd and call for better behaviour.

IOC President Thomas Bach: 'shocking behaviour for the crowd to boo Renaud Lavillenie on the medal podium. Unacceptable at the Olympics'


Thiago Braz da Silva won Brazil's third gold medal of the Olympic Games on Tuesday. A previous version of this story incorrectly said it was the country's first gold medal of the games.

BuzzFeed Daily

Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

Newsletter signup form