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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3 months ago

A true inspiration!

3 months ago


Chalmers > Dressel
3 months ago


3 months ago

Absolutely amazing! Presumably JASF will let her take on the individual?

Obviously her improvement curve is going to be very different to any other swimmer.

3 months ago

Who will swim the fly leg if she wins the 100m free?

Reply to  Gheko
3 months ago

Hasegewa will probably qualify in the 200 fly so that’s an option but they could also have the second place finisher swim free since whoever it is might qualify for the 400 free relay.

The unoriginal Tim
3 months ago

This is one of the greatest achievements in sport. Ever.

Mr Piano
Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
3 months ago

2 people accidentally disliked this

3 months ago


3 months ago

This just made my day!

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Swim analyst, businesswoman.

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