Ike Rikakofighting spirit can be partly attributed to her mother’s attitude, Miyukiinoculated early.
The single mother of three and teacher believed that “keeping a strong mind doesn’t mean giving up a good mind”, according to Asahi Shimbun. In short, she believed that being competitive should not come at the expense of being a decent human being.
She also tried never to compare her children to their peers and focused on developing their character rather than congratulating them on their race results.
These lessons helped the prodigy Japanese swimmer achieve incredible success in his early career by competing Olympic Games Rio 2016, at the age of 16 before winning six gold medals and two silver at Asian Games 2018.
This mantra was put to the ultimate test in early 2019 when Ikee was diagnosed with leukemia.
“I just stood by her, comforted and encouraged her. If I had cried, I would have made her suffer even more,” said Ikee Miyuki Asahi Shimbun. “I tried to act like an actress.
“Children need to believe in themselves to build strong minds without giving up.”
Encouraged by her mother, Ikee did not feel sorry for herself or speak negatively during rehab as she worked towards her goal of competing in Tokyo 2020.
It’s unbelievable that she qualified for the 2021 Games just eight months after returning to competition and helped Japan reach the final of the 4×100 individual medley relay.
And her proud mum said that battling leukemia “can be considered an event that allows you to grow up and that this way of life can also be a kind of strength”.
Now that she is also in the public spotlight, Ikee Miyuki has decided to give something back by writing a book containing her parenting knowledge and tips.
“It’s important to continue giving children positive comments like ‘You can do it’ and not denying them dreams,” she continued.
“There are also more important things than being number one in sports or other fields.”
TOO: Ikee Rikako: “It’s a miracle I’m alive”
Harder lessons on the road to Paris 2024
These lessons continue to help Ikee ride the roller coaster of competitive swimming.
After an emotional performance at her home Olympics in Tokyo, she missed the qualification for the 2022 World Cup so much.
Despite winning the 100m freestyle and butterfly and finishing second in the 50m flying at the Japanese Championships, she missed the qualifying times and later cried on Instagram, “It’s a hard world. I can’t go to the World Championships even though I made it to the qualifying time in the relay. I really wanted to participate in individual races and this could have worked to my disadvantage.
“But I learned a lot from racing here and I hope to use that in the next one.”
Moving on and focusing on the next task – the message had her mother’s stamp on it.
Ikee is now focusing on qualifying for the competition 2023 World Aquatics Championships on home water in Fukuoka, overtaking Paris 2024 when she’s only 24.
Given her mother’s lessons and potentially her presence in the stands, expect her to fight to the bitter end again.
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