Rikako Ikee’s Remarkable Journey: Overcoming Leukemia to Achieve Olympic Dream, Inspiring Miracle of 0.01 Seconds | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Rikako Ikee’s Remarkable Journey: Overcoming Leukemia to Achieve Olympic Dream, Inspiring Miracle of 0.01 Seconds

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Her face was radiant as she decided to participate in the Olympics. Immediately after the race, she looked up to the heavens and said with a smile, I am so happy!

Five years of suffering rested on his shoulders at the last minute, and a miracle of 0.01 seconds was born.

In the women’s 100m butterfly final, Rikako Ikee (23) finished second place in 57.30 seconds, beating Nobuho Matsumoto (21), who came in third in 57.31 seconds, to secure her first individual ticket to the Olympics in two events.

I’m going to Paris! I can go!


Ikee’s X message after the competition was filled with emotion.

Ikee first competed in the Olympics eight years ago at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Ikee, who was only 16 years old at the time, participated in seven events as a rising star in the Japanese swimming world, and achieved the feat of finishing fifth in the 100m butterfly. In February 2019, while Ikee was training alone in Australia with the goal of reaching the podium at the next Tokyo Olympics, Ikee was suddenly struck by illness. She had leukemia. She has been battling the disease for about a year and has lost 15 kg. She had no choice but to give up her shot at winning an individual medal at the tournament held in her home country. Still, Ikee faced her. She definitely wants to go to Paris, with that in mind, she swam again, carefully controlled her diet, and pushed herself through strength training to build up her physique.

Ikee’s original strength came from her height (171cm), her reach, and her back muscles, which are unmatched by Japanese swimmers. However, at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, when she competed only in the team events, her upper body had thinned considerably, losing 8 kg compared to the weight before her recuperation. Now, she has regained 2 to 3 kg, and her swimming has regained its strength. Her 15-meter speed from the start to the surface, which had been an issue, has returned, which is evidence that her muscular strength has improved, says sports writer Yoshimi Oriyama.

Ikee’s best time in the 100m butterfly since her return to the Olympics was 57.03 seconds, set in the semifinals of the Olympic trials on March 17, which is close to what Ikee set at the Rio Olympics. What will it take for Ikee to again approach her own Japanese record of 56.08 seconds, and to break it? Nobunori Taguchi, a gold medalist at the Munich Olympics, has some insight.


There is still room for improvement in muscle endurance. Hypoxic training is effective in building muscles that will not get out of shape. If scientific training is added to the hard swimming Ikee has been doing in Australia, her times will still improve.

There is still room for improvement in muscular endurance. Low-oxygen training is effective in building muscle to prevent fatigue. Scientific training is applied to the hard swimming that Ikee has been working on in Australia.Her time will continue to improve.

The world’s barriers are thick. In order to reach the podium in Paris, Ikee will need to reach the 55-second mark, which she has never achieved even in her prime.

Ikee has overcome leukemia and has a strong mind and an indomitable body, and is sure to reach her peak.While there are many athletes who are active in their 30s, at 23 years old, she still has a lot of growing to do.Until the Olympics. It is possible to improve your time significantly over the next four months.

The poster child of water, who has risen from the bottom, will soar on the stage in Paris.

Long reach, strong back muscles, and soft shoulder blades. Ikee’s weapons to generate speed are coming together ahead of the Paris Olympics.
A photo taken in July 2020, right after her return. Her arms are quite slender compared to her current self, which shows how fierce her battle with the disease was.

From the April 5 and 12, 2024 issues of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Getty Images (1st photo) Kyodo News (2nd photo) AFLO

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