Olympics: Brazilian fans slammed over 'Nazi-level' booing

France's Renaud Lavillenie waits to compete in the men's pole vault final on Aug 15, 2016.
France's Renaud Lavillenie waits to compete in the men's pole vault final on Aug 15, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Rio Olympics organisers slammed rowdy home fans on Tuesday after ear-splitting boos and jeers that pole-vaulter Renaud Lavillenie likened to Nazi Germany.

The defending champion, who went head-to-head with Brazil's Thiago Braz late on Monday, compared his treatment to Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics before later apologising for the comment.

Boisterous, football-style support has been a feature of the Games but spokesman Mario Andrada agreed that the Brazilian fans went too far.

"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," he 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.

"We're paying very much attention to the fact that booing is not the right thing to do when you're competing at the Olympic level."

Lavillenie was incensed at the crowd's behaviour during Monday's pole vault face-off which Braz, 22, won with an Olympic-record leap of 6.03m.

"In 1936 the crowd was against Jesse Owens. We've not seen this since. We have to deal with it," he said, before apologising for the heat-of-the-moment comment.

"Better to stay at home in front of your television than come and whistle," Lavillenie said. "At least then we'd have people in the stadium who want to watch sport."

The Frenchman added: "It really disturbed me, I felt the nastiness of the public and we do a sport where you never see that."

Andrada also admitted that "more seats should be filled" after large swathes of the Olympic Stadium were empty on Monday - despite apparently health ticket sales.

He said 25,000 more tickets would be given away to schoolchildren but prices will not be slashed because the Rio Games relies on ticket sales for income.

"We are worried but we are working within the framework of a Games that are privately funded," he said.