Pan Pacific Champion Rikako Ikee Diagnosed With Leukemia

Japanese superstar and Tokyo 2020 medal hope Rikako Ikee has been diagnosed with leukemia, per a tweet published by the 18-year-old today, February 12th.

The multiple national record holder and 2018 Asian Games MVP stated, “I still can’t believe it and am in a state of confusion. But it’s also a disease that can be fully cured if treated properly.”

According to Masaaki Yoshida, a vice chairman with her corporate sponsor Renaissance, Ikee is now hospitalized and doctors believe they have discovered the disease at its early stages. (Japan Times)

Ikee had been in Australia training alongside Brit Alys Thomas and Aussie Emma McKeon, but apparently cut that camp short and returned to Japan when the leukemia diagnosis was discovered. Her coach Jiro Miki said Ikee appeared to be fatigued and he said he ‘had never seen her breathing as heavily as that’ while training down under.

“We took her to a local hospital to check her blood and heart but decided to return to Japan as quickly as possible to undergo further tests,” Miki stated. “But as for her motivation to beat this disease, I can only bow my head at her determination.”

As for immediate plans, “I will rest a little and dedicate myself to treatment,” Ikee said. “I will strive to show you an even stronger version of myself. Thank you for your encouragement and warm thoughts.”

Ikee was poised to take multiple titles at this April’s Japanese Championships, the qualifying meet for the 2019 FINA World Championships. However, she will instead be undergoing treatment.

“I’m utterly taken back,” said Yasuhiro Yamashita, the Japanese Olympic Committee’s head of development. “She still has great potential, an athlete who could power the world of Japanese sports. The first priority is thoroughly treating this disease.” (Japan Times)

Her coach, Jiro Miki said Tokyo 2020 was not entirely out of the question, but Japan Swimming Federation Vice Chairman Koji Ueno said, “We’re not considering any special (qualifying) exemptions for her.” (Japan Times)

“I’m told we wouldn’t have been able to discover the disease in ordinary circumstances,” Ueno said. “We were able to find her irregularities because she was swimming. In that sense, we were able to find the disease early.”

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Best of luck, Ikee Rikako. We will all be cheering for your speedy recovery.


u meant treatment & recovery ….i wish her the best as well


Oh shut up


what ? u think Leukemia does not need treatment at all ? Never saw your ID before , a new Troll on the block here + all the down voters who seem to not understand ” Treatment & recovery ” – Bathetic

Caeleb Dressel’s Bandana

I see only one troll here, and it’s not ASAP or balding eagle

Samuel Huntington

You need to stop talking.


i wont stop being Myself LOL


Oh my god. I thought Nathan Adrian was too young, but this is ridiculous. I’m glad they caught it early and hopefully with the right care she will be back to her daily life soon enough. Not that there’s a “right” age for anyone to get leukemia, but she’s barely older than my high school swimmers and I can’t imagine any of them going through this.


So sad for Rikko, hopeful for a cure. Cancer strikes without regard to age, gender or ethnicity. Childhood cancer only gets 4% of funding, many younger than Rikko are diagnosed with leukemia and other forms of cancer.


Nathan Adrian is around the peak age for testicular cancer. It’s basically a younger man’s disease.


It is actually 18-28 for non seminoma tesucular ca. Regardless, Cancer sucks! Best wishes for complete recovery to both Nathan and Rikako!


Holy crap


That’s what I thought, first Nathan Adrian, now Rikako… cancer sucks.
God speed with treatments and recovery!

Steve Nolan

And today has a post about Blume having had heart surgery?? In comparison, it seems so minimal compared to the two literal cancer diagnoses.

This sucks.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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