Just two years after her leukemia diagnosis, swimmer Rikako Ikee is poised to become a symbol of hope for Japan after qualifying for several relay events at the Olympics.
NBC, which holds the rights to air the games, had eyed Ikee for a starring role in the opening ceremony. That looks unlikely now, given that Ikee has heats to swim the next day. And she’s confident she’ll be even faster in the pool come July.
Also resurgent and confident — after troubles of a different kind — is Daiya Seto, reports Kaz Nagatsuka. Seto says it took him “about eight months” to get motivated to train after the yearlong Olympic delay was announced, but the hiatus doesn’t seem to have done him much harm.
In gymnastics, three-time Olympic gold winner Kohei Uchimura is upbeat about his chances of making it to the games on the horizontal bar, having given up on defending his men’s overall and team titles due to shoulder problems.
Mai Murakami, the first Japanese woman to win a world gymnastics all-around silver medal, defended her national title earlier this month and took a step toward Olympic qualification, while Daiki Hashimoto won his maiden national championship to take the lead in the race for the men’s team.