Her career in the pool long behind her, retired swimmer Hanae Ito is looking to nurture future generations of female athletes in Japan by ensuring they know what she did not.

Eight years since her retirement, the 35-year-old has "come out" with her very personal story about menstruation, the most human of processes that is still often treated as "secret women's business," in hope that she can inspire women to feel comfortable in their bodies.

"Why can't we talk about periods? The more athletes like me that talk about it, the more dialogue in sports will change," Ito said in a recent interview.