The deeper meaning behind the bouquets at the Tokyo Olympics

·1-min read

An Olympic medal isn't the only thing athletes receive if they come out on top at the Tokyo games. In addition to medals, every athlete receives a special victory bouquet, which carries extra significance in Japan.

The flowers used in the bouquets pay tribute to three key areas of Japan. The bouquets feature "eustomas and Solomon’s seals from Fukushima, sunflowers from Miyagi, gentians from Iwate, and aspidistras from Tokyo," according to the Tokyo Olympics website.

The prefecture of Fukushima was devastated by the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami. Following those disasters, a non-profit organization was established to grow those flowers as a way to promote recovery in the area.

The sunflowers pay tribute to children in Miyagi who died during the earthquake and tsunami. Every year, parents who lost children in those disasters plant sunflowers on a hill in the prefecture. 

Iwate is known for gentians. The flower's color is the same as the Tokyo Olympics logo.

Victory bouquets not uncommon at the Olympics

It's not the first time victory bouquets have been handed out at the Olympics, though it's been a while since they made an appearance. The bouquets in Tokyo mark the first time since the 2012 London Olympics that flowers have been handed out to medalists. 

Over 5,000 victory bouquets were arranged for the Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo. 

Tokyo Olympic bouquets feature flowers from important areas in Japan.
The Olympic bouquets carry a special meaning in Japan. (Photo by Jeff PACHOUD / AFP) (Photo by JEFF PACHOUD/AFP via Getty Images)

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