Naomi Osaka may not be participating in the media hoopla surrounding the Olympics, but the athlete still got the opportunity to kick off the games by lighting the Olympic cauldron. The torch passed through a number of student’s hands, onto Hideki Matsui, a Japanese doctor, and then to women’s wheelchair marathoner Paralympian Tsuchida Wakako before it reached Osaka who ran it up the stairs and proceeded to light the cauldron with pride. The athlete, who considered it an honor to take on the task, shared her excitement on social media with an inspiring post.
‘Greatest Athletic Achievement’
Osaka could not contain her glee as she gushed about the opportunity. “Undoubtedly the greatest athletic achievement and honor I will ever have in my life,” wrote Osaka. “I have no words to describe the feelings I have right now but I do know I am currently filled with gratefulness and thankfulness … love you guys thank you.” The tennis star shared a series of photos of herself making her way up the stairs to light the cauldron. Fans and celebrities came together to congratulate the athlete. Reese Witherspoon left a few flame emojis and her sister Mari Osaka cheered her on as well.
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She Looked Great Too
Osaka followed up the first post with a video of the event taking place. “Still trying to wrap my head around what just happened, crazy,” she captioned the video, still in disbelief. The 23-year-old also changed up her hairstyle to reflect the fiery flames. She sported red and white braids to match her outfit and the Tokyo Olympics colors. Fans could tell that the tennis player was extremely overwhelmed with excitement and a plethora of other feelings as she bowed nervously before tilting the torch to light up the games. Osaka, who is of Haitian and Japanese descent shared in 2019 that she forfeited her U.S citizenship to compete for Japan in this year’s Olympics.
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This Moment Is Years In The Making
when asked why she would make such a bold move, Osaka stated. “It’s definitely going to be very special. I think there’s no other place that I’d rather play my first Olympics. I think that will be one of the most memorable things that ever happens to me.” She has always shared with pride that she is of mixed heritage and regularly displays both sides of her race. At that time, she added that the Opening ceremony was a big deal for her. “I’m kind of looking forward to everything like the opening ceremony. It’s also a very big honor to even be participating.”
Osaka recently ended a media ban with two amazing magazine covers. She stunned on the cover of Vogue Japan where she got candid about her mental health, her hard work, and the sacrifices that she has made to put her sport first. She also made waves by being on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. She along with Megan Thee Stallion, and Leyna Bloom mark a number of firsts for the publication, with Megan being the first rapper and Bloom being the first trans woman to be on the cover. The opening ceremony is just another huge stride in Osaka’s blooming career.