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Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura wins two golden medals in Rio 2016. Photo: Fernando Frazão/Agência BrasilJapanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura wins two golden medals in Rio 2016. Photo: Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil

Kohei Uchimura defeated (only) by Pokémon Go

(Rio de Janeiro, brpress) - Olympic Japanese Kohei Uchimura has conquered two golds, but was charged a US$4,900 mobile bill because of the game fever.

(Rio de Janeiro, brpress) – His technic is perfect and he is already a “darling” among Brazilians. Olympic champion and one of the Rio 2016 stars, the Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura may be a record six-time world-beater for Japan and has just won a golden medal this Wednesday (August 10th). Two days earlier, Uchimura delivered another gold in men’s gymnastics team striking over Russia and China. But his efforts chasing Pokémon Go have been far less glorious. 

Since arriving in São Paulo – where the biggest Japanese community outside Japan has thrived – for training camp ahead of the Olympic Games, he was hit with a 500,000 yen (US$4,900 or 15.400 Brazilian Reais) internet mobile data bill after getting hooked on the augmented reality game. “Pokémon Go turned into Pokémon dough,” as Japanese newspaper Kyodo put the scoop that has gone around the world – as fast as the game itself. 

‘Superman’ go

The reigning Olympic and world champion – known at home as ‘Superman’ – confided he downloaded the app when he landed in Brazil and was immediately captivated with the global gaming sensation. Unfortunately for Uchimura, 27 years and reportedly suffering from a severe low back pain, he did not have a flat rate for overseas data usage – nor has bought a Brazilian SIM card.

Uchimura may not have kept the same costly distractions once he was settled in to the Olympic Village where numerous athletes reported their adored game is ‘Pokémon No’ because it wasn’t launched across all of Brazil then. Pokémon Go arrived in Brazil on the first week of the Games. And now Pokémons have been seen all over the country with the same voracity as anywhere in the world. And Uchimura might be managing his roaming data more carefully while gymnastic fans are beting he can win at least two more medals. 

Sharp landing, sharp words

“I am far from my physical limits”, stated the 1.60m Japanese hero to Brazil’s main weekly magazine, Veja. “It is just the beginning”, he treated. It is not folklore why he is considered the greatest male gymnast of all times. Uchimura is sharp – on landing and talking. He answers reporters (not very creative) questions with one or two words.

How was the contest? “Tough”. How do you feel having won another gold? “Exhausted”. Being an Olympic champion did make you quit other things in life? “Yes”. How has your training routine being until Rio? “It’s been a hard work, right after London”. Is it hard to keep on the top? “Demands a high emotional control besides a  great physical form”. Are you Superman – I mean, invincible? “It does not exist”. 

And the last attempt to try to break the ice: How is Rio 2016 atmosphere? ”Brazilians are amazing. They applaud even mistakes”. Funny? No, focused. But not completely ego boosted. Kohei Uchimura has said repeatedly that he cares more about winning a team gold than winning another individual title in Rio. 

“Winning the individual gold makes me happy, but the team gold means you get five times the happiness”, Uchimura counts. Incredibly, his Japanese mobile service provider also is counting – for less. It has agreed to reduce the champions bill to a flat-rate of 3,000 yen (US$30) a day, according to Kyodo newspaper.