Naomi Osaka lights Olympic cauldron - a symbol of hope to open Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 in 2021

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 23: Naomi Osaka of Team Japan lights the Olympic cauldron with the Olympic torch during the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on July 23, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 23: Naomi Osaka of Team Japan lights the Olympic cauldron with the Olympic torch during the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on July 23, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The four-time major winner and Japanese superstar in tennis was the final torchbearer as part of the Olympic Torch Relay at the Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremony. 

Let the Games begin - the Olympic cauldron has been lit.

Tennis star Naomi Osaka of Japan had the distinct honour of serving as the final torchbearer of the Olympic Torch Relay , lighting the cauldron inside Olympic Stadium for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 in 2021.

Osaka, 23, is a four-time major champion in tennis who is making her Olympic debut. She won her fourth Grand Slam title at the Australian Open earlier in 2021.

Her lighting of the cauldron served as one of the final moments of a moving Opening Ceremony, leading the way with hope for the world and furthering the "Stronger Together" message that has been embraced by these Games.

“If you don’t fit the expectation, change it” Naomi Osaka #StrongerTogether
01:00

Naomi Osaka is proof that the definition of an Olympian is broader than people think. The tennis star encourages girls all over the world to embrace their individuality. To be the ones who get to change the expectation. #StrongerTogether #Tokyo2020 #Olympics

Inside the Stadium: Olympic cauldron lit

The lighting of the cauldron marked the final step of a long journey for the Olympic Torch through Japan, at the end of a relay which began on 25 March 2021. The torch is designed in the shape of a cherry blossom, a symbol close to the hearts of the Japanese people.

The torch entered into Olympic stadium, carried by Olympic champions Nomura Tadahiro (judo) and Yoshida Saori (wrestling) and was handed off to Japanese baseball legends Hideki Matsui, Shigeo Nagashima, and Oh Sadaharu.

It was then a pair of healthcare first responders who took the flame, passing it along to Tsuchida Wakako, a seven-time Paralympian and three-time gold medallist. Tsuchida handed the torch on to a group of Japanese youth before it was then given to Osaka herself.