Flags, personal items banned at medals ceremonies

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BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP)

Hungary's president says it was his idea to ban athletes from holding their countries' flags or personal items like lucky charms or banners on the podium during medal ceremonies at the Youth Olympics in Singapore.

Pal Schmitt, a member of the International Olympic Committee, says he made his proposal to IOC president Jacques Rogge and the organizing committee to try and prevent ''exaggerated nationalist manifestations.''

Schmitt is a former two-time Olympic fencing champion in team events who was sworn in on Aug. 6 as Hungary's president. He returned from a visit to the Youth Olympics this week.

Athletes have been holding only stuffed animals representing Merly and Lyo, the tournament's mascots, when receiving their medals.

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