When Rikako Ikee won the 100-meter butterfly event in Japan's Olympic trials, it was not just a win. It was a miracle. The 20-year-old swimmer, who won six gold medals in the 2018 Asian Games, was diagnosed with leukemia two years ago. After 10 months in hospital, she resumed training in March last year, aiming for the 2024 Paris Olympics rather than the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which were delayed a year by the pandemic. "I came into the race telling myself I'm back," she said. "And so I feel that, even if you go through suffering and pain, your hard work will always be rewarded."

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