The traditional parade of nations saw 206 nations enter the Olympic stadium in Tokyo, and more than 11,000 athletes will participate in the Games. The opening ceremony culminates with the end of the Olympic torch relay and the lighting of the cauldron. It is the poignant, dramatic apex of the ceremony, and some notable athletes have done the honor of lighting the cauldron, including Muhammad Ali, Steve Nash, Wayne Gretzky, Rafer Johnson and the 1980 U.S. men's hockey team.
Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion, is a favorite to win gold and one of the superstars of these Games. It was an incredible moment as she completed the Olympic relay.
"Undoubtedly the greatest athletic achievement and honor I will ever have in my life," Osaka wrote on Twitter. "I have no words to describe the feelings ..."
Osaka is having an iconic summer. She has become a social justice leader and the latest athlete advocate for taking care of your mental health after not participating in news conferences at the French Open.
"I've often felt that people have no regard for athletes' mental health and this rings very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one," she wrote on social media at the time. "We're often sat there and asked questions that we've been asked multiple times before or asked questions that bring doubt into our minds and I'm just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me."
She was quoted in Time magazine as saying, "It's OK to not be OK."
Undoubtedly the greatest athletic achievement and honor I will ever have in my life. 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. pic.twitter.com/CacWQ5ToUD— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) July 23, 2021
Naomi Osaka born in Japan of Japanese Haitian parents, moved to USA to develop her game. Is an activist and a global citizen, seems like an ace of a torch lighting. Let these challenging games begin. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼— Pam Shriver (@PHShriver) July 23, 2021
Let the Games begin 🔥— Olympics (@Olympics) July 23, 2021
Four-time major tennis champion Naomi Osaka has the honour of lighting the #Tokyo2020 Olympic cauldron.@naomiosaka, a battler on court, offers a symbol of hope for her home country #JPN#OpeningCeremony | #StrongerTogether pic.twitter.com/Ir01GZ5imn
It's on! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/3cgHVvpyZy— Olympics (@Olympics) July 23, 2021