While a resident of the United States, Naomi Osaka is a citizen and native of Japan. And her worldwide sporting accomplishments gave her the honor to light the cauldron at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics on Friday.
Osaka was taking a break from tennis ahead of the Games after a difficult bout with anxiety and the media at the French Open earlier this year. But she’ll be one of the favorites to win a gold medal for her country over the two weeks.
The Chūō-ku, Osaka born Osaka moved to Long Island at age 3, but took her Mother’s last name early in life because it made the most sense for a young woman born in Japan, where the family name is said first before the individual name.
It’s been quite a week for Osaka, who was also on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, and got into a back-and-forth about it with a political commentator about it. But we’ll bet lighting the flame is the thing she’ll remember most from all of it.