With the mobile game “Pokemon Go” being all the rage these days, it makes sense that some Olympians would look to do their best Ash Ketchum impersonation while in Rio de Janeiro. With the stress that can come with competing in an event held only once every four years, the occasional diversion from training and competition may not be a bad thing for some. However with the game not being completely supported in Brazil at this time, athletes have been frustrated by not being able to catch Pokemon while in Brazil.
And in the case of Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura, the game threatened to hand the favorite to win gold in the all-around competition a loss that goes far beyond simply not being able to play.
Thanks to international roaming charges, Uchimura ran up a bill of some 500,000 yen, which works out to $5,000. To say the least, that isn’t chump change and teammate Kenzo Shirai noted the impact that the bill had on Uchimura. “He looked dead at the team meal that day,” Shirai said of Uchimura according to the Kyodo News.
The good news for Uchimura is that his service provider has given him a flat rate that works out to a charge 3,000 yen ($30) per day, thus avoiding having to pay the four-figure bill.
Uchimura has won a medal in the men’s all-around in each of the last two Olympics, winning silver in Beijing in 2008 and gold in London four years ago. Add in the fact that he’s won gold in the all-around in each of the last six World Championships, and he arrives in Rio as the clear favorite to once again win gold.
Uchimura may not have as much success catching Pokemon as he would have hoped for given the circumstances. But another gold medal in the all-around (he’s also looking to lead Japan to gold in the team competition) would cement his status as the greatest gymnast in the history of the sport in the eyes of many.