Tennis Star Naomi Osaka Ignites Opening Ceremony as She Lights Olympic Cauldron

Surprise! Naomi Osaka gave fans more reason to cheer as she lit the Olympic Cauldron during the Tokyo Opening Ceremony on July 23. See the fiery moment below.

By Jess Cohen Jul 23, 2021 3:27 PMTags
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This girl is on fire!

Naomi Osaka aced her role in the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony on Friday, July 23. The tennis champion, who is competing for her home country of Japan in the Games, lit the Olympic Cauldron at the end of the event, surprising viewers around the world.

"Undoubtedly the greatest athletic achievement and honor I will ever have in my life," she wrote 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 [heart emoji] love you guys thank you."

The Olympics Twitter page also celebrated Osaka's involvement in the ceremony. "Let the Games begin," the account wrote. "Four-time major tennis champion Naomi Osaka has the honor of lighting the #Tokyo2020 Olympic cauldron. @naomiosaka, a battler on court, offers a symbol of hope for her home country #JPN."

While her role was a surprise to many, the Olympics did hint that Osaka would play a part in the Opening Ceremony, given her first tennis match— originally scheduled for the morning of Saturday, July 24—was delayed a day. So, it seems like Osaka will now get to enjoy her night and get an extra 24 hours of rest before competing. 

New Sports at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Osaka, who is back on the court after withdrawing from the French Open in May, is set to take on fellow tennis player Saisai Zheng in the first round of the Olympics.


In the meantime, check out the rest of the must-see moments from the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony below!

Naomi Osaka
Olympic Stadium
Olympic Rings
Boxer & Nurse Arisa Tsubata
Parade of Nations
Team USA
Flag Bearers Sue Bird & Eddy Alvarez
Tonga's Pita Taufatofua
Team Argentina
Team Japan
Team France
Team Qatar
Team Greece
Team Angola
Team Italy
Team Tuvalu
Team Netherlands
Team South Africa
Team Nigeria
Team Israel
Team Kenya
Team Haiti
Team Jamaica
Team Uganda
Team Uzbekistan
Team Belgium
Team Germany
Team Palestine
View More Photos From 2020 Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony
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