Ex-Olympic Boss Wanted Hideki Matsui To Light Olympic Flame Before Resigning

Hideki Matsui running to the dugout

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The Tokyo Olympics almost began with another star athlete lighting the Olympic flame at the Opening Ceremony.

According to reports, Yoshihiro Mori, former president of the Japanese Olympic Committee, wanted former New York Yankees star Hideki Matsui to light the flame. Mori reportedly wanted someone who was “pure Japanese” to light the flame.

“(Yoshiro) Mori wanted ‘Godzilla’ to light the Olympic flame at the end, not Naomi Osaka,” an employee for the committee claimed to The Daily Beast. “[Matsui] is a pure Japanese man and a baseball champion in the US and Japan—the embodiment of fighting spirit.

“Funny in the sense that Godzilla breathes flames, and Matsui would be lighting the cauldron.”

Ultimately, Mori resigned from his position because of sexist comments he made and Naomi Osaka, who is half Japanese and half Haitian, got the nod.

The 23-year-old Osaka was eventually given the honor of being the final torchbearer and appreciated the moment.

“When I lit the flame, I was super honored,” she said. “I think that’s a position that you dream about and not anyone can do it. So, for me, when they asked me if I wanted to, I was very surprised but very honored. And I’m just very happy to be here and very happy to play — especially in Tokyo.”

The Olympics will come to an end on Sunday, August 8.

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