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article imageRio organisers vow to 'dialogue' with booing fans

By AFP     Aug 17, 2016 in Sports

Rio 2016 organisers vowed on Wednesday to teach Brazilian fans about Olympic etiquette following the booing scandal that left pole vault world record holder Renaud Lavillenie of France in tears.

Lavillenie, the 2012 Games champion, was embroiled in a tense and thrilling gold medal battle with local hero Thiago Braz da Silva in Monday night's pole vault final at the Olympic Stadium.

But he was shocked at being jeered by fans every time he jumped or his face was displayed on giant screens around the stadium, before breaking down in tears on Tuesday morning during the medal ceremony following his stunning defeat to the unheralded Thiago.

The booing brought widespread condemnation of Brazilian fans, but Rio 2016 chief spokesman Mario Andrada said organisers are using social media to try to sensitise fans more used to football rivalries than the Olympic spirit.

Thiago Braz Da Silva (right) shows off his pole vault gold medal to Brazil fans in Rio de Janeiro on...
Thiago Braz Da Silva (right) shows off his pole vault gold medal to Brazil fans in Rio de Janeiro on August 16, 2016
Johannes Eisele, AFP

"Booing, it's not the proper way to cheer, we never support this and we're still working on this to make sure this is not (repeated) -- and I think we're still in the beginning of our journey," Andrada told journalists on Wednesday, adding that organisers had posted two messages in Portuguese about the issue on their website.

"We need to make sure we can have dialogue with fans because we don't want this to be an uncontrolled issue and getting back to our athletes.

"It's a very delicate issue, in most of the sports to respect the gold medal, the silver medal."

He said Thiago's challenge to the world record holder was "a huge surprise to everybody" and had "generated extra pressure for the public".

"The public was watching history in the making and got out of control in the booing," said Andrada.

"We have to have dialogue with Brazilian society and Brazilian fans, we're committed to this and we're going to keep working on this with the Brazilian fans using our social networks and website."

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