Olympians Will Receive Hand-Knit Cashmere Bouquets Rather Than Flowers on Beijing Medal Podium

The flowers are part of the Beijing Olympics organizers efforts toward sustainability

Beijing Olympic Games
Photo: The Olympic Games/Instagram

Olympians competing in the Beijing Games next month won't receive the typical flower bouquets given to athletes who make it to the medal podium. Instead, they'll be given something more sustainable and long-lasting.

Beijing Olympics organizers revealed details of the medal ceremony this week, which will include customized mascot gifts for the winning athletes, in addition to their new hardware.

They'll also be gifted hand-knit bouquets made of cashmere to honor the Beijing Games organizers' goal of practicing sustainability. The knitted bouquet will mimic six real types of flowers: roses, Chinese roses, lilies of the valley, hydrangeas, laurel, and olive branches.

According to a release, the chosen flowers symbolize friendship, tenacity, happiness, unity, victory, and peace.

Organizers have also designed special uniforms for the medal presenters to wear during the ceremonies. Three separate sets of costumes have been created, including jackets, hats, boots, gloves and self-heating thermal underwear.

The costumes are designed for the different competition venues. For example, a design based on the two Chinese traditional symbols of "snow" and "clouds" will be worn for snow competition medal ceremonies.

The Games are still moving forward despite the rapid spread of the omicron COVID-19 variant, though International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told USA Today on Monday that he is "worried."

"I don't think these things are postponable," he explained. "In almost every respect the arrow has left the bow. They're going to start Feb. 4 and it would take a real upset of some sort to change that."

Continued Pound, the most veteran member of the IOC, "I think there will be uncertainty surrounding the Games in the public, as far as the ship sailing, but right now, the lines are cast off and the boat is leaving the dock, unless Armageddon happens and public health authorities say we lock down every country. At that point, it changes the entire paradigm."

Updated by
Lindsay Kimble

Lindsay Kimble is a Senior Digital News Editor and the Sports Editor for PEOPLE Digital. She's worked at PEOPLE for over seven years as a writer, reporter and editor across our Entertainment, Lifestyle and News teams, covering everything from the Super Bowl to the Met Gala. She's been nominated for the ASME NEXT Awards for Journalists Under 30, and previously wrote for Us Weekly while on staff at Wenner Media.

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