Leukemia Survivor Rikako Ikee Qualifies For The Tokyo Olympic Games


In a remarkable feat tonight in Tokyo, 20-year-old leukemia survivor Rikako Ikee topped the women’s 100m butterfly podium, clinching the gold in a time of 57.77.

Although her result missed out on representing Japan at this year’s Olympic Games individually in this event, her podium-topper was enough to clear the 57.92 minimum standard required by the Japanese Swimming Federation (JASF) to be slotted for the women’ s medley relay.

After making her mark by placing 5th in the 100m fly as just a 16-year-old at the 2016 Olympic Games, Ikee also finaled at the 2017 FINA World Championships before taking gold in this 100m fly event at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships. She also wreaked havoc at that year’s Asian Games, becoming the prestigious event’s first-ever female MVP.

However, Ikee revealed her leukemia diagnosis in early 2019, spending most of that year in the hospital undergoing intense treatments. Her recently-released SK-II campaign ad shows how Ikee went from vibrancy to barely being able to dive in the pool, yet here the inspirational racing ace accomplished the unexpected, qualifying for her 2nd Olympic Games.

Ikee will also be taking on the 50m free and 100m free here at the Japan Swim, with her 57.77 outing boding well for possible individual qualification in either of those. For Ikee, her original plan was simply to take things day-by-day with the hopes of qualifying for the next Olympic Games in Paris 2024. However, perseverance, determination and raw talent have steered Ikee to a new plan.


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1 year ago

Beyond wonderful news! I know the Golden Goggles are an American-only award, but, like, maybe an honorable mention for the Perseverance Award?

Last edited 1 year ago by Jack
1 year ago

Way too go!!!!!!

Sakura Sakura
1 year ago

Watched her race last night on NHK. Very very emotional. What a message she sends to all of us and especially people battling with sickness! One year of hospitalization and less than one year of training due to Covid. Less than one year ago, she was not allowed to put her face in water and could not even cross the length of the pool. What an amazing story!

Their Olympic team standards are very fast ( world top 8 time). I hope they can reconsider this especially because this is in their own country.

Kristiina Allekõrs
Reply to  Sakura Sakura
1 year ago

She was not covid. She is leukemia survivor. Most hard diesase.

1 year ago

I’ve waited all year to read those words and I am SO overjoyed for her! The center lane is yours once again, Rikako! 💪🏼♥️

1 year ago

Congratulations! Simply recovering from leukemia was already so inspiring but this is so amazing. She is so talented.

1 year ago

Still don’t understand why they won’t let her swim individually even though she won

1 year ago

Inspiring, as well as eye-watering

1 year ago


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