Japanese tennis star and 4-time grand slam champion, Naomi Osaka got the honour of lighting the Olympic cauldron in the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony and rightly so, the 23-year old described it as the ‘greatest athletic achievement’ of her life.
The official Olympics social media team circulated a video in which Naomi Osaka is seen sharing how it is okay to be different than others and what others think doesn’t matter.
She said: “People might think I’m quiet… Different, that I don’t fit the box of what an Olympian should be. But I’m proof that the definition is bigger than people think. I want to inspire the girls watching right now.. the ones that some people think are too different, too quiet, too something.”
“And if we don’t fit the expectations of what people think we’re supposed to be… GOOD! That just means we’re the ones that get to change it!” she concluded.
Naomi too expressed her gratitude via social media, calling this the greatest athletic achievement she will ever have in her life. “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,” she wrote.
Naomi Osaka hot favorite to win gold
Naomi Osaka will go into The Games as the second seed and a prominent contender to win Gold on her home soil. She has been handed a fairly easy draw early on and will face Chinese Saisai Zheng in the first round. She is expected to face Viktorija Golubic in the next round and and can lock horns with Pole Iga Swiatek in the quarterfinal.
She is then drawn with Elina Svitolina and could face her in the semifinals. Her toughest challenge could come in the gold medal match, where she could possibly face Ash Barty in a mouthwatering clash.