Boston Athletic Association apologizes for putting American flag on ground during Boston Marathon ceremony

The Boston Athletic Association issued an apology after the American flag ended up scrunched up on the floor during the medal ceremony that followed the men’s wheelchair race at Monday’s Boston Marathon.

As 20-year-old Daniel Romanchuk was recognized for his winning time, the flag was stowed away in the corner of the stage as the national anthem played. The flag was originally draped over Romanchuk’s shoulders. However, according to CBS Boston, a race official “removed the flag to place Romanchuk’s winner’s medal and crown on him, and in the process placed the flag on the ground.”

“The Boston Athletic Association apologizes sincerely for the nature in which our Men’s Wheelchair Award Ceremony was held. We are reviewing our awards protocol to ensure that this does not happen again,” a statement from BAA chief operating officer Jack Fleming reads.

“The Boston Marathon has been an American tradition for more than a century and we take pride in the passion and determination that participants, spectators and volunteers from around the world display at our annual event. Our flag is a symbol of freedom, unity and community spirit — all of which are virtues that the Boston Athletic Association supports.”

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Scenes from the 2019 Boston Marathon
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Scenes from the 2019 Boston Marathon
Men's winner Lawrence Cherono of Kenya crosses the finish line ahead of Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia during the 123rd running of the Boston Marathon on the sixth anniversary of the 2013 Boston marathon bombings in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. April 15th, 2019. REUTERS/Gretchen Ertl TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Kenyan Lawrence Cherono edges Ethopian Lelisa Desisa for first place for the Men's Elite race, at the 123rd Boston Marathon on April 15, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. - Kenya's Lawrence Cherono sprinted to victory in the Boston Marathon on Monday, overhauling Ethiopia's Lelisa Desisa in the final few metres of the gruelling race to claim a thrilling win. In damp, chilly conditions, Cherono, Desisa and Kenya's Kenneth Kipkemoi broke away from the field over the final few miles as the world's oldest major marathon reached a dramatic conclusion. Desisa, the 2013 World Champion and two-time Boston Marathon champion, looked to be on course for victory as he kicked for home in the final 200m.But with the crowds at Boston's famous Boylston Street finish line roaring them on, it was Cherono who timed his finish to perfection, overhauling the grimacing Desisa just a few metres from the tape to claim a magnificent win in 2hr 7min 57 sec. (Photo by RYAN MCBRIDE / AFP) (Photo credit should read RYAN MCBRIDE/AFP/Getty Images)
Worknesh Degefa, of Ethiopia, kisses the ground after winning the women's division of the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Worknesh Degefa, of Ethiopia, holds the trophy after winning the women's division of the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Worknesh Degefa, left, of Ethiopia, winner of the women's division, and Lawrence Cherono, right, of Kenya, winner of the men's division of the 123rd Boston Marathon, hold the trophy at the finish line on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
A runner tries to keep dry before the 123rd running of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Gretchen Ertl TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Kenneth Kipkemoi, left, of Kenya, Lelisa Desisa, center, of Ethiopia, and Lawrence Cherono, right, of Kenya, compete in the final mile of the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, of Charlotte, N.C., finishes the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, left, of Charlotte, shakes hands with grand marshall Meb Keflezighi, of San Diego, after finishing the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Fans cheer on the third wave of runners at the start of the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Hopkinton, Mass. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)
Lawrence Cherono, left, of Kenya, runs to the finish line to win the 123rd Boston Marathon in front of Lelisa Desisa, of Ethiopia, right, on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
A Boston police officer stands with others near a memorial to the 2013 bombing near the finish line, during a moment of silence at the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Richard Reinhardt, left, of Columbia, Md., Nicholas Haddow, second from left, of Calgary, Canada, and Brian Prendergast, right, of Brick, N.J., help Matthew Harpin, of Marietta, Ga., as they approach the finish line in the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Runners race to the finish line in the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Boston Athletic Association Chief Executive Officer Tom Grilk, left, embraces Joan Benoit Samuelson, first women's Olympics marathon winner, after finishing the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Judd Lorson, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., carries his 10-month-old son Logan across the finish line in the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Hiroto Inoue, left, of Japan, and Elkanah Kibet, of Fountain, Colo., head to the finish line in the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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The BAA hosts the marathon each year.

According to the U.S. flag code, the flag “should never touch anything beneath it,” including “the ground.”

Romanchuk, a student at the University of Illinois, became the youngest winner ever in the men’s wheelchair division of the race. He also was the first American man to win the Boston Marathon since 1993. He finished in a time of 1:21:36.

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