'Not a proud moment': Image of wheelchair champion sparks outrage

The Boston Athletic Association has been forced to apologise after the American flag ended up scrunched up on the floor during the medal ceremony that followed the men’s wheelchair race at the Boston Marathon.

As 20-year-old Daniel Romanchuk was recognised 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 flag was placed on the ground. Image: AP

After backlash on social media, the BAA issued an apology.

“The Boston Athletic Association apologises sincerely for the nature in which our Men’s Wheelchair Award Ceremony was held,” a statement from BAA chief operating officer Jack Fleming said.

“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.

“Our flag is a symbol of freedom, unity and community spirit — all of which are virtues that the Boston Athletic Association supports.”

Daniel Romanchuk holds the American flag at the finish line. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

‘Should never touch anything beneath it’

The BAA hosts the marathon each year.

According to the official US 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, finishing in a time of 1:21:36.

Incredible finish in men’s race

The 123rd Boston Marathon ended with a sprint to the tape, as Kenya’s Lawrence Cherono edged Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa by two seconds in one of the closest finishes in the event’s history.

Cherono outkicked Desisa in the final steps of the 26.2-mile race, winning in his Boston Marathon debut in 2:07:57. Desisa was denied his third Boston title.

“It was something amazing,” Cherono said. “It was not easy.”

The women’s race had far less drama thanks to Ethiopia’s Worknesh Degefa, who led the last 22 miles and finished 44 seconds ahead of 2017 Boston winner Edna Kiplagat of Kenya. Degefa finished in 2:23:31.

“(My husband) said you have good speed, when you have comfortable, just go,” Degefa said through a translator.

Manuela Schar of Switzerland won the women’s wheelchair race for the second time in three years, finishing in 1:34:19.

With Yahoo Sports and agencies