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Naomi Osaka breaks barriers again by gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit edition
The four-time major champion is officially the first female Black athlete to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit edition.
Published Jul 20, 2021
Naomi Osaka is breaking barriers yet again.
The tennis star is officially the first female Black athlete to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit edition. She shared the historic moment with Megan Thee Stallion, the first rapper to be featured on the front page, and Leyna Bloom, the first transgender woman to cover the magazine. The theme of the 2021 issue is "Opening Eyes, Speaking Truths and Changing Minds," and you’d be hard pressed to find women that represent this theme better.
“We celebrate Naomi for her passion, strength and power geared toward consistently breaking barriers when it comes to equality, social justice and mental health," Sports Illustrator editor-in-chief MJ Day said in a statement.
The 23-year-old is certainly familiar with opening eyes, speaking truths, and changing minds. Even this early in her career, she’s already been known to stand up for what she believes in, whether it be the Black Lives Matter movement or mental health. Her Sports Illustrated cover is a loud and clear message that role models should be more than just beautiful; they should be strong as well.
Naturally, Osaka looks as fierce on her cover as she does when she’s taking the court. She is a power-posing vision in her asymmetrical mesh and leather one piece, and her statement shell earrings call on her inner island goddess. She may as well be the queen of the ocean she stands in front of.
The new issue is on stands July 22, and the very next day, Osaka will take part in the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony to represent Japan. It will be her first competition since she withdrew from Roland Garros, and the world is waiting with bated breath to see the world No. 2 back on court.