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I Just Learned That The Flower Bouquets Given Out At The Tokyo Olympics Have A Special Meaning And Now I'm Emotional

What a beautiful way to pay tribute to the people of Japan.

If you can believe it, the Tokyo Olympics have nearly wrapped up, with only a couple days left until the closing ceremony.

The Olympic rings pictured on the shoulder of Germany's Florian Wellbrock after he won the men's 10km marathon swimming event
Oli Scarff / AFP via Getty Images

Many of us, myself included, have been glued to our screens, watching and learning about the various Olympic sports. In fact, there's been a fair amount of Googling involved.

USA's Sunisa Lee competes in the balance beam event of the artistic gymnastics women's all-around final
Loic Venance / AFP via Getty Images

One thing that I haven't really seen talked about is the flower bouquets given to medallists at the Tokyo Olympics.

An Olympic athlete holding Tokyo's flower bouquet
Al Bello / Getty Images

The last time flowers were handed out to athletes was at the 2012 London Olympics.

I mean, sure, they're pretty — and I thought that was about it. But today, I learned there's a much deeper meaning behind the flowers chosen to represent Japan.

Gold medallists Lilia Akhaimova, Viktoria Listunova, Andgeina Melnikova, and Vladislava Urazova (L-R) of the ROC team pose at a victory ceremony for the women's artistic gymnastics team all-around event
Sergei Bobylev / Sergei Bobylev/TASS

According to the Olympic Committee, there are five types of flowers included in the victory bouquets — eustomas, Solomon's seals, sunflowers, gentians and aspidistras.

Silver medalist Inna Deriglazova of Team ROC poses with flowers in her hand on the podium
Matthias Hangst / Getty Images

Both eustomas and Solomon's seals have been grown and produced in Fukushima Prefecture, which was impacted by the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent nuclear disaster in 2011.

Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP via Getty Images, Getty Images

Fukushima established a non-profit organisation to grow flowers in order to help recovery efforts after the agricultural industry was halted and destroyed.

Meanwhile, the sunflowers are from Miyagi and represent the memories of the people who were affected by the same disaster when the tsunami hit.

A bunch of wild sunflowers
Liyao Xie / Getty Images

Parents who lost children during the Great East Japan Earthquake have planted sunflowers on the hill where they sought safety. As a result, the hill is covered with sunflowers every year.

Gentians are synonymous with the Iwate Prefecture, with the region producing over half of the popular flower in Japan. Also, the indigo blue colour of the gentian is used in the Tokyo 2020 Games emblem.

Two bright blue gentian flowers
Getty Images

Last, but not least, are the aspidistras, which have been grown in Tokyo and symbolise the host city of the 2020 Olympic Games.

Getty Images

The bouquets are accompanied by Tokyo's Olympic and Paralympic mascots — Miraitowa, who represents both Japan's traditions and future, and Someity, who symbolises strength and overcoming barriers.

Miraitowa and Someity figures standing on a podium
Eugene Hoshiko / POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Bonus fact: Miraitowa's name comes from the Japanese words "mirai" (meaning future) and "towa" (meaning eternity). On the other hand, Someity was named after a popular type of cherry blossom, but also refers to the phrase "so mighty". 

It's hoped that the flowers will not only reflect the strength of the people and recovery efforts in these disaster-affected areas in Japan, but shine a new light on them as well.

An Olympic athlete holding their silver medal and flowers
Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

This is beautiful and makes me appreciate these flower bouquets so much more than I did before.

Sailike Walihan of Team China poses with the bronze medal and flowers during the Victory Ceremony
Tom Pennington / Getty Images

What other details have you spotted during the Tokyo Olympics? Drop them in the comments below!