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Olympic flower bouquets: does “green” describe more than their color?

The internet has been buzzing with people questioning why medal winners at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics are receiving flower bouquets that have a close resemblance to everyone’s favorite green vegetable broccoli!

(Photo: Marisa Chappell makes a bouquet, to be handed to an Olympic athlete, at a flower shop in Surrey, B.C. Febr. 15, 2010. The 20-year-old mother started the slide into drugs when she was 10 but has been clean for 2 years.)

There is a long history that can be attributed to the flower choice, but since Vancouver has made an effort to remain green during the Olympic Games, there are still questions if these flowers abide by that principle other than in color.

 The bouquets that the Olympic medal winners are receiving to congratulate them on their win before the nightly medal ceremonies aren’t truly environment-friendly. However, the decision that brought officials to the flower choice was in part.

Before each Olympic Games, one local florist is selected to provide the flowers. Fifty-eight florists in British Columbia entered the competition for 2010’s winter Olympics. Ultimately, two florists were chosen; Just Beginnings Flowers and Margitta’s Flowers. The former doesn’t focus on the sustainability of the environment, but of humanity. The owner of the flower shop helps people reintegrate themselves into society following a prison sentence or after overcoming an addiction.

Here’s where the partial environmental element comes in, the flowers are typically local. When entering the competition, these florists selected green mums and hypercium berries, supporting local business and reducing the emissions required for transportation. Unfortunately, since these flowers are not in season in February, the ones contained in the actual Olympic bouquets were flown in from Ecuador.

In a round-about way it’s possible to consider the Olympic bouquets as green in the environmental context, but when it really comes down to it, the term “green” is a better description of their color.

Should the Vancouver Olympics have made more of an effort or abandoned tradition entirely? 

Also read: Should the Olympic flame have gone green?