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Naomi Osaka takes her girls' sports academy global, expanding it to Los Angeles and Haiti

Naomi Osaka was only 20 years old when she won the U.S. Open tournament, and she is the first Asian player to hold the highest singles ranking. The tennis star moved to the U.S. from Japan at age three and she has held both Japanese and American citizenship.

Her U.S. citizenship has been a topic of discussion as the Japanese exemption that allows her to hold both passports expired at age 22—which Osaka turned in 2019. At that time, she announced she would choose to give up her U.S. citizenship to keep her Japanese citizenship and compete for Japan in the 2020 Olympics. However, Osaka has said that she feels "more like a global citizen" than one particular nationality—a sentiment supported by her latest endeavor.

In partnership with Nike and Laureus Sport for Good, Osaka launched a program to support girls in sports in Japan last year. Her Play Academy is committed to leveling the playing field for girls through physical play and sports, giving girls opportunities and encouragement to get moving.

Now, she is expanding Play Academy to Los Angeles, where she currently lives and trains, as well as to Haiti, where her father is from.


"The beauty of Play Academy is that it reflects all of the communities where Naomi has a personal connection," says Caitlin Morris, Nike VP, Social & Community Impact. "We share her belief that play is for everyone. Young girls in places like Los Angeles and Haiti may have different social and cultural reasons for why play and sport have been difficult to access, but in the end, they all need an opportunity to play – as well as authentic role models like Naomi, who fully embrace who they are and what they believe in."

Osaka is working toward the goal to make play and sports more accessible by partnering with local organizations dedicated to youth engagement who can bring Play Academy to communities that could benefit most from it. According to a news release from Nike:

In Los Angeles, Play Academy will partner with organizations that support young girls' participation in play and sport, especially those from Black, Asian and Latino communities. The Expression of Interest from organizations is now open (Click here to learn more). The first group of partners will be announced later this summer. In Haiti, Play Academy is partnering with GOALS Haiti, a grassroots organization working to advance youth leadership through soccer and education to create stronger, healthier communities in rural Haiti. The funding will specifically be applied to sport accessibility for girls, the hiring of more female coaches and the introduction of nuanced curriculum on how to encourage girls to create positive, healthy habits.

"We believe that all kids — especially girls — deserve a chance to play, no matter where they come from or what they look like," Osaka told PEOPLE. "The more we provide girls with opportunities to get active, the more opportunities we are giving them to become leaders in their communities."

How great to see a truly global endeavor to uplift and empower girls in various countries. Also great to see someone so young and talented taking up a leadership role for upcoming generations and using her fame and resources to create greater opportunities for young people. Keep up the inspiring work, Ms. Osaka.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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