Boston, MA – The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) has issued an apology for having mishandled the American flag during the Boston Marathon men’s wheelchair race awards ceremony on Monday (video below).
According to U.S. Code, “no disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America,” and it “should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground.”
Daniel Romanchuk dominated the men’s wheelchair race with a time of 1:21:36, beating second-place finisher Masazumi Soejima by nearly three minutes, Runner’s World reported.
The 20-year-old college student from Illinois became the first American to win the race since 1993, and is the youngest top athlete in the history of the men’s wheelchair division, according to USA Today.
During the awards ceremony, Romanchuk beamed as he sat with the American flag draped over his shoulders during the national anthem.
A moment later, the flag was removed so that a race official could place a medal around Romanchuk’s neck and a winner’s wreath on his head, video footage showed.
But in the process, the race official grabbed the flag and tossed it to the side, leaving it in a crumpled heap on the floor.
BAA chief operating officer Jack Fleming immediately issued an apology for the disrespectful way the flag was handled, USA Today reported.
“The Boston Athletic Association apologizes sincerely for the nature in which our Men’s Wheelchair Award Ceremony was held,” Fleming said in a statement. “We are reviewing our Awards protocol to ensure that this does not happen again.”
“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,” he continued. "Our flag is a symbol of freedom, unity, and community spirit — all of which are virtues that the Boston Athletic Association supports."
You can watch footage from the award ceremony in the video below (h/t TB Daily News):