Tokyo Olympics: The flowers of the medalists who pay tribute to the disaster of 2011

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All bouquets come complete with Tokyo 2020 mascot Miraitowa attached

Winning an Olympic medal is a huge moment for any athlete, but the bouquet of flowers presented to them at Tokyo 2020 holds special significance.

More than 5,000 bouquets are given to athletes at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Ceremonial flowers were primarily grown in three districts in northeastern Japan that were devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011, and the subsequent merger of three reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Nearly 20,000 people died in the disaster that struck Iwate, Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures.

And the bouquets of yellow, green and blue flowers presented to medalists at the Olympic and Paralympic Games were almost entirely grown in these three districts.

The bright yellow sunflowers, which dominate the bouquets, were grown in Miyagi, after being planted by parents whose children died in the disaster. Parents chose a hill where their children had taken refuge from the effects of the tsunami.

Delicate white and purple eustomas and Solomon’s seals were cultivated in Fukushima – as part of a non-profit initiative set up to try to revive the local economy in the aftermath of the disaster, which had severely damaged agricultural production.

Gentian, a small, bright blue flower, is cultivated in Iwate, a coastal area devastated by giant waves during the 2011 disaster.

To complete the bouquet, there are strong green Aspidistras, grown in Tokyo, and chosen to represent the host city.

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