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Volunteer groups crochet woolen bouquets for Games medalists

China Daily

10th February 2022

Volunteer groups crochet woolen bouquets for Games medalists

China Daily Editor:Li Yan

Medal winners at the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games are presented with woolen bouquets, crocheted over several months by dedicated groups of volunteers, that include retired workers and disabled and elderly people.

At previous Games, fresh flowers were used for the medal presentation ceremonies. However, the traditional Shanghai crocheted bouquets don't wilt and will be more permanent reminders of the Beijing Games.

The Shanghai bouquet came about in the mid-19th century when practitioners in Shanghai, a global entrepot, fused Chinese and Western techniques, according to Agence France-Presse.

The woolen bouquets include representations of seven flowers and plants: the rugosa rose; Chinese rose; hydrangea; lily of the valley; laurels; sweet osmanthus; and olive branches. They represent friendship, perseverance, happiness, unity, victory, bounty and peace, said Lin Cunzhen who designed the emblems for the Beijing Winter Olympics.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Lin said the bouquets for the Paralympics will be modified to add the perennial coreopsis, a type of daisy, to represent bravery.

Gao Tian, deputy director of the culture and ceremonies department of the Beijing Organising Committee of the 2022 Games, said medalists who have already received the woolen bouquets have been impressed with the design. "I've seen many medalists take photos with the bouquets close to their faces or held high above their heads. I think they must be happy to get this special souvenir," she said at the news conference.

A total of 1,251 bouquets are needed for the medal winners at the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

Each flower is handmade, which requires time and manpower.

"It takes 20 minutes to crochet a rose petal. A rose consists of 10 petals, three leaves and one stem. A crocheter needs to spend at least five hours on one rose," said Li Meili, 70, an inheritor of the traditional Shanghai wool-crocheting technique, who designed the bouquet.

Li said it takes 35 hours to make an entire bouquet.


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