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International Games
Friday, July 24, 2020
Tokyo 2020 Release One-Year-To-Go Video

Tokyo 2020 has released a video marking the one-year-to-go countdown to next year's postponed Olympics, featuring cancer survivor and Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee.

Acknowledging the postponement of the Games to 2021, Ikee was featured in the empty Tokyo Olympic Stadium, speaking of her return to sport after being diagnosed with leukemia in early 2019.

The swimmer remains hopeful of qualifying for the Olympics, having returned to training in March, with the six-time Asian Games gold medalist looking to represent her nation in her home city.

During the broadcast, Ikee spoke about the similarities between her comeback to sport and the pandemic, and urged athletes to bounce back from the disappointment of the postponement.

She mentioned the work of healthcare workers, who helped her survive cancer and are now aiding in the battle against COVID-19, which forced the postponement of the Olympics.

Holding the Olympic Flame, she also asked athletes to not take their hard work and talent for granted – something that she admits to doing before being stricken by cancer.

"It was my dream to be part of these Games," said Ikee.

"Seeing such a once-in-a-lifetime goal disappear in front of their eyes, must have given athletes a sense of loss that cannot be put into words.

"I understand what that's like because I experienced the same when I was diagnosed with leukemia.

"The future I took for granted transformed overnight into something completely different."

Ikee explained her love for sport and was soon joined by a "+1" symbol that was emblazoned on the screen, representing the Games taking place a year later than planned.

She added: "Through this experience, I have learned that sport is about more than just athletes.

"It takes the support of many different people to make sport happen – this has never been more true.

"Think of the coming year, not simply as a one-year postponement, but as a plus one.

"To overcome adversity, what we need most is hope – a flame of hope glowing in the distance allows us to keep trying, to keep moving forward no matter how hard it is.

"For me, it was the swimming pool, the thought of swimming in a pool again got me through painful medical treatment.

"I have faith that a year from now the flame of hope will light these very grounds."

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