As athletes arrive in Rio for the summer 2016 games, they will face international rivals, the ongoing panic over the Zika virus, and a record-setting number of condoms. But, according to many of the Olympians arriving on the scene in Brazil, they won't get the chance to test their skills against the world's most competitive creatures: Pokémon.
Despite having been released in 30 countries, the incredibly popular Pokémon Go mobile game is still unavailable in Brazil, making these a particularly bleak Olympics for any pole-vaulters hoping to catch a Rattata over the next few weeks. With Friday's Opening Ceremony approaching, it looks like more than a few athletes have opened the app to catch some pocket monsters in between training sessions. Instead of Pokémon, they found disappointment.
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Want proof? Take a look at these screenshots from by British canoeist Joe Clarke and French canoeist Matthieu Peche, which show the Olympics to be a barren, Pokémon-free wasteland.
Even though the mayor of Rio took to Facebook to beg the game's developers to make it available in Brazil in time for the games, it appears his prayers to the Poké-gods went unanswered. The athletes will have to fill their time with other, less thrilling activities, like competing in incredibly difficult feats of strength and endurance that they spent their entire lives training for. Or, if they're ambitious, they can see if any of these other fun (non-Pokémon) mobile games work in Brazil.
I feel for these athletes. Throughout history, many brave competitors have returned to their countries as gold medalists, bringing great honor and respect to their homelands, but how many have returned with a crazy story about catching a super-rare Pokémon? None. This was a chance for many athletes to make history. I guess they'll have to wait four more years for the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, when we will all definitely still be playing Pokémon Go.
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