Pope Francis attends an audience with members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See for the traditional exchange of New Year greetings at the Sala Regia at the Vatican

(Press Association)

Vatican Hopes Track Team of Swiss Guards, Priests, Nuns Can Make Olympics

"The dream that we have often had is to see the Holy See flag among the delegations at the opening of the Olympic Games," said Monsignor Melchor Jose Sanchez de Toca y Alameda, team president and the head of the Vatican's sports department in the culture.

January 10, 2019 - 4:42 am

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican has launched an official athletics team.

Around 60 Holy See runners — Swiss Guards, priests, pharmacists and even a 62-year-old professor who works in the Vatican's Apostolic Library — are the first accredited members of "Vatican Athletics," which was announced Thursday.

The Vatican and the Italian Olympics Committee signed an agreement giving birth to the team, which is now a part of the Italian athletics association and is looking to compete in international competitions including the Small States Games and the Mediterranean Games.

Team members kitted out in matching navy warm-up suits bearing the Holy See's crossed keys seal attended the launch.

The initiative is part of the Vatican's long-standing promotion of sport as an instrument of dialogue, peace and solidarity.

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