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Athletes

Rikako
Ikee
JapanJapan, JPN
Swimming

Biography

Further Personal Information

Date of birth
04 July 2000
Height
171 cm
Residence
Tokyo, JPN
Occupation
Student
Languages
English, Japanese
Higher education
Sports Science - Nihon University : Tokyo, JPN

Sport Specific Information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She began the sport at age three.
Why this sport?
She was encouraged by her older brother and sister.
Club / Team
Renaissance [JPN] / Nihon University [JPN]:
Name of coach
Isamu Nishizaki [Renaissance], JPN, from 2020; Koji Ueno [Nihon University], JPN

International Debut

Year
2014
Competing for
Japan
Tournament
World Cup
Location
Tokyo, JPN

General Interest

Hobbies
Colouring books, puzzles, watching films. (rikako-ikee.jp, 13 Jun 2019)
Hero / Idol
Japanese swimmer Kosuke Hagino. (s-re.jp, 2014)
Injuries
She sustained pain in her left shoulder and ankle in 2017. (hochi.co.jp, 26 Jul 2017)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Keep it up." (Twitter profile, 13 Feb 2019)
Awards and honours
She was given the Swimmer of the Year Award at the 2018 Japan Aquatics Awards. (swimswam.com, 28 Jan 2019; bbm-japan.com, 29 Jan 2019)

She received a Special Award at the 68th Japan Sports Awards in 2018. (msn.com, 14 Dec 2018)

She was Japan's flag bearer at the closing ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia. (swimmingworldmagazine.com, 03 Sep 2018)

She was named Most Valuable Player [MVP] at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia by the Olympic Council of Asia [OCA]. (swimswam.com, 02 Sep 2018)

She was given an Excellence Award and Arena Sprint Award at the 2017 Japan Aquatic Awards. (tobiuojapan.org, 23 Jan 2018)

She received Big Sports Award at the 2017 TV Asahi Big Sports Awards in Japan. (sportsbull.jp, 12 Jan 2018)

She was awarded the FINA Trophy for the Best Female Swimmer at the 2017 World Junior Championships in Indianapolis, IN, United States of America. (fina.org, 29 Aug 2017)
Milestones
She is the first swimmer, male or female, to win six gold medals at a single edition of the Asian Games. She claimed victory in two relay events and four individual events at the 2018 Games in Indonesia. She also became the first female athlete from any sport to win six gold medals at a single edition of the Asian Games. (SportsDeskOnline, 31 Aug 2018; reuters.com, 25 Aug 2018)
Ambitions
To win medals at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris and the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. (daily.co.jp, 29 Aug 2020; nikkei.com, 30 Jun 2020)
Other information
ILLNESS
She was diagnosed with leukaemia in February 2019. She spent time away from the sport to receive treatment and was discharged from hospital in December 2019. She resumed pool training seriously in May 2020, and returned to competitive action at the Tokyo Special Swimming Tournament in August 2020. "I think my swimming ability has returned to about the level in my seventh or eighth grade of middle school. I'm hoping to build a solid foundation since I'm no longer tied down by the 2020 Olympics [in 2021]. I'm aiming for the 2024 edition.” (japantimes.co.jp, 05 Jun 2019; rikako-ikee.jp, 13 Jun 2019, 17 Dec 2019, 17 Mar 2020; nikkansports.com, 08 Feb 2020, 19 Feb 2020; Instagram profile, 08 Feb 2020; asahi.com, 02 Jul 2020; olympics.nbcsports.com, 02 Jul 2020; daily.co.jp, 29 Aug 2020)

MESSAGE OF HOPE
In July 2020 she was featured in a video that marked the one-year countdown to the postponed 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Ikee stood in an empty National Stadium holding the Olympic flame and delivered a message comparing the difficulties of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic with her own battle with cancer. "Think of the coming year, not simply as a one-year postponement, but as a plus one. To overcome adversity, what we need most is hope - a flame of hope glowing in the distance allows us to keep trying, to keep moving forward no matter how hard it is." (tokyo2020.org, 24 Jul 2020; insidethegames.biz, 23 Jul 2020)