Rikako Ikee Returns Favor on Sarah Sjostrom, Implores Her to “Never Give Up”

Photo Courtesy: @ikee.rikako

Japan’s Rikako Ikee, who had the fastest time in the world in the 100 butterfly in 2018, sent well wishes to her rival Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden after she announced she would be undergoing surgery after breaking her elbow last week. Ikee posted on social media for Sjostrom to “never give up,” much like how Sjostrom did in the medal ceremony of the 100 fly at the 2019 Worlds.

Sjostrom, the reigning Olympic champion and the current world record holder, organized the shoutout to Ikee alongside fellow medalists Maggie MacNeil and Emma McKeon as they all wrote to Ikee to “never give up” as she was at home battling leukemia.

Ikee has since recovered and swam a 24.9 in the 50 freestyle on Sunday, her fastest time in over two years as she seems to look better each and every time she jumps into the water.

Sjostrom completed the surgery today, and it is approximated it will take about three months for a full recovery.


Emma McKeon, Maggie McNeil, Sarah Sjostrom – ‘fly aces send heartfelt wishes and pay tribute to the absent Rikako Ikee on the podium at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju – Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant