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Five facts about Olympic cauldron lighter Naomi Osaka

Osaka kicked off the start of the Tokyo Games Friday.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics kicked off Friday with the Opening Ceremony. The official start of the Games is highlighted by the lighting of the Olympic cauldron. 

This time around, the honor went to Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka, who on Instagram called it, "Undoubtedly the greatest athletic achievement and honor I will ever have in my life." Here are some more facts to know about the tennis star. 

Who is Osaka's family?

The 23-year-old is the daughter of a Haitian father, Leonard François, and a Japanese mother, Tamaki Osaka. Naomi Osaka was born in Osaka, Japan, but moved with her family to the United States at three years old. Osaka also has an older sister, Mari Osaka, who until March 2021 also played tennis professionally. The sisters took their mother's last name and represent Japan in competition.

Naomi Osaka's resume

Osaka made her debut at a Women's Tennis Association event in 2013, shortly before her 16th birthday. She's currently ranked No. 2 in the world in singles behind Australia's Ashleigh Barty. Osaka is a four-time grand slam champion with two Australian Open wins (2021 and 2019) and two U.S. Open wins (2018, 2020). Osaka is also 3-1 against Serena Williams.


Focusing on mental health

Before the Olympics, Osaka most recently made headlines for her decision to withdraw from the 2021 French Open. Just days before she made the announcement, Osaka posted on Twitter that she wouldn't do any press conferences at Roland Garros. 

"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," Osaka said at the time. After backlash, Osaka announced she was retiring from the tournament just days later. She also chose not to compete at Wimbledon.

The Tokyo Olympics will be Osaka's first competition since Roland Garros.

Sports Illustrated History

Naomi Osaka has made a lot of history in her 23 years, on and off the court. Most recently, Osaka made history for her Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover. Osaka is the first Black female athlete to earn the cover spot in the issue's nearly 60-year history.

She has her own Netflix series

Earlier this month, 'Naomi Osaka', a docuseries on the tennis star's life, debuted on Netflix. The three-part series covers a two-year period of Osaka's career, including grand slam title defenses and advocacy for the Black Lives Matter movement.

When the series was released, Osaka posted on Instagram that she was "terrified." 

"This is in some ways my soul and a reflection of who I am," she said. "I hope there are pieces that people can relate to and maybe other pieces that would help people understand why I make the choices I make."

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