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What you might not know about the flower bouquets given to Olympians

In the hands of forever Olympians, these bouquets represent perseverance and resilience as it highlights Japan's past and sets forth its future.

ATLANTA — Bundled with a prestigious Olympic medal is a small bouquet made up of green, yellow and indigo flowers wrapped in a blue bow attached to Miraitowa, the Olympics mascot. 

The mascot's name is a blend of two Japanese words, mirai, meaning future, and towa, meaning eternity.

But the flowers handed to Olympians to celebrate their achievement have a deeper meaning for Japan -- they represent the recovery from the disastrous 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

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Credit: AP
Russian Olympic Committee's artistic gymnastics women's team, Liliia Akhaimova, Viktoriia Listunova, Angelina Melnikova and Vladislava Urazova listen to music from a Russian composer during the medal ceremony after receiving theirs gold medals at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Yellow sunflowers from Miyagi, bright green eustomas from Fukushima and deep blue Gentians from Iwate make up the bouquet. The three areas were impacted the hardest by the natural disaster, where about 18,000 people died and recovery is still ongoing today. 

After the earthquake, Fukushima suffered from a nuclear disaster where Japanese residents were forced to evacuate. It seemed like flowers would never flourish in the area ridden by nuclear and natural catastrophe. Yet, nonprofits began planting and cultivating the ruffled green flowers to jump-start the area's economy. 

In Miyagi, sunflowers emerged as a sign of remembrance and memory. Parents of those who were killed or missing planted sunflowers to memorialize their children. Cultivators needed to brainstorm techniques to fit the sunflowers into the small bouquets. 

The indigo Gentians were always a staple for the coastal Iwate region. More importantly, that exact shade of violet-blue makes up the colors of the Olympics and Paralympics emblems. 

In the hands of forever Olympians, these bouquets represent perseverance and resilience as it highlights Japan's past and sets forth its future.

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