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Athing Mu of the United States celebrates after winning the women’s 800-meter final at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Tuesday, August 3, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo / Petr David Josek)


In some of their most moving moments, Olympic athletes display their national pride.

Medalists often receive their country’s flags as they celebrate their victories. Some wrap themselves in it and cry. Others drape them over their heads or hold them behind their backs as they perform victory tricks.

Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands wrapped her country’s flag around her and lay down on the track as she celebrated her gold medal in the women’s 5,000 meters. Hours earlier, she had recovered from a frightening fall on the last lap of her 1,500-meter race to not only finish that race, but also win it.

Hanna Mills and Eilidh McIntyre celebrated their gold medal in sailing by taking the British flag into the water. Kevin Mayer of France and Valarie Allman of the United States jumped for joy with their flags behind them as they celebrated silver in the decathlon and gold in the discus throw, respectively.

New Zealanders Risi Pouri-Lane and Michaela Blyde embraced, wrapped in their national flag, as they celebrated their gold medals in women’s rugby sevens in an empty stadium.

And the gold medalists of the Russian Olympic Committee’s saber fencing team celebrated gold by jumping behind a flag bearing the Olympic rings. The flag of Russia is banned due to doping concerns.

These Associated Press photos capture the athletes as they celebrate their victories, flags in tow.

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