Tokyo Olympics: The medal winners' flowers that pay tribute to 2011 disaster

Olympic flowers
All the bouquets come complete with Miraitowa, the Tokyo 2020 mascot, attached

Winning an Olympic medal is a huge moment for any athlete, but there is special significance to the bouquet of flowers they are being handed at Tokyo 2020.

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

The ceremonial blooms were mainly grown in three districts of north-east Japan that were devastated by a 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and the subsequent meltdown of three reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Almost 20,000 people died in the catastrophe that hit the prefectures of Iwate, Fukushima and Miyagi.

And the bouquets of yellow, green and blue flowers being presented to medallists at both the Olympics and Paralympics were grown almost entirely in those three districts.

Bright yellow sunflowers, which dominate the bouquets, were grown in Miyagi, having been planted by parents whose children died in the disaster. The parents chose a hillside where their children had sought refuge from the effects of the tsunami.

Delicate white and purple eustomas and Solomon's seals were grown in Fukushima - under a non-profit initiative set up to try to revive the local economy in the wake of the disaster, which had severely damaged agriculture production.

The gentians, a small bright blue flower, are grown in Iwate, a coastal area that was devastated by giant waves in 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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