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Kicking Off the Tokyo Games, Naomi Osaka Lights Olympic Cauldron

The tennis champion re-entered the spotlight at the opening ceremony.

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Kicking Off the Tokyo Games, Naomi Osaka Lights Olympic Cauldron

The tennis champion re-entered the spotlight at the opening ceremony.

Naomi Osaka officially kicked off the Tokyo Games by lighting the Olympic cauldron, a time-honored tradition that takes place during the opening ceremony. The tennis champion, born to a Japanese mother and Haitian father, gave up her U.S. citizenship in 2019 to represent Japan at the Games.

Acting as the Olympic cauldron lighter is a major honor for Osaka, who withdrew from the French Open in May to focus on her mental health. “Undoubtedly the greatest athletic achievement and honor I will ever have in my life,” Osaka captioned a photo of herself in front of the fiery cauldron, posted on Instagram. “I have no words to describe the feelings I have right now but I do know I am currently filled with gratefulness and thankfulness.”

Osaka will play her first match in nearly two months at the opening tournament of the Olympics on Sunday.

In case you missed it, the creative director of the opening ceremony was fired for making an anti-semitic joke.

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