Naomi Osaka was not the Japanese Olympic Committee's first-choice to light the Olympic flame and mark the opening of the 2021 Olympics - instead, sources say, the former committee chairman wanted someone who was 'pure Japanese.'
Yoshiro Mori, who resigned from his position as chair of the Tokyo Organizing Committee in disgrace in February, had reportedly been pressuring his colleagues to get former Yankees player Hideki Matsui to light the torch.
'Mori wanted "Godzilla" to light the Olympic flame at the end, not Naomi Osaka,' an employee for the committee anonymously told The Daily Beast, referring to Matsui's nickname he earned for his battling power as a former Yankee.
He ended his two-decade career with a total of 507 home runs, and has since made an appearance in Godzilla versus Mechagodzilla.
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Yoshiro Mori, the former chair of the Tokyo Organizing Committee, had reportedly wanted ex-Yankee player Hideki Matsui (left) to light the Olympic torch, not Naomi Osaka (right)
Osaka, of Team Japan, carried the torch towards the Olympic cauldron
The lighting of the Olympic cauldron marks the beginning of the Olympic games
Mori, who had previously served as the honorary chairman of Matsui's fan club in Ishikawa Prefecture - where Matsui was born, was reportedly insistent on Matsui representing the country in the final moments of the opening ceremonies.
He told the members of the committee that Matsui is 'a pure Japanese man and a baseball champion in the United States and Japan - the embodiment of [a] fighting spirit.'
The employee also said Mori, a former prime minister in the country, thought it would be 'funny in the sense that Godzilla breathes flames, and Matsui would be lighting the cauldron.'
And the committee would usually do what Mori wanted, an employee with Dentsu, a public relations firm exclusively partnered with the Games, who worked on the opening ceremony,