Pope Benedict XVI invited Italy’s Olympians to the Vatican Monday to congratulate the team on its 28 medals and remind them (and everyone else) that drugs are the wrong road to the top of the podium.
“Pressure to win good results should never prompt you to take shortcuts, as happens with doping,” the Pope said Monday. “Let the same team spirit be a spur to avoid these blind alleys, and also be a support to those who realize they have made mistakes, so that they feel welcomed and helped.”
The Pope also spoke about the positive benefits of competing in sports, including learning altruism, loyalty, respect, patience, and humility, “which is never applauded but is the secret of victory.”
Despite have never having participated in the Games as an Olympic nation, the Vatican City opened its own “Culture and Sport” department earlier this year in hopes that it can continue to promote those positive benefits highlighted by Benedict on Monday.
“Sport is both an educational and cultural benefit, able to reveal to man his own self and let him understand the most profound values of his life,” Benedict said.
Basketball reporter Craig Sager will miss the Rio Games as he returns to a cancer center to continue his battle against acute myeloid leukemia, NBC announced in a statement Thursday.
Sager was set to cover his fifth straight Olympics for NBC, but instead needs to undergo a third bone marrow transplant at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He resumed receiving chemotherapy on Wednesday, according to the Houston Chronicle, with the goal being to force the disease into remission so the transplant can be performed next month.
“We’ve known since February we would have to have the third transplant,” Sager told the Chronicle. “We tried to delay it until after the Olympics, but (the disease) is very aggressive, and there is a sense of urgency to do it now.”
Sager was diagnosed in 2014, went into remission after a bone marrow transplant, was told the cancer came back in March 2015, underwent a second transplant last year, and then found out in February he was no longer in remission.
“My body isn’t getting stronger, so they want to do it while I’m strong enough,” Sager said. “Third transplants are kind of rare, so hopefully we will get it done and I’ll be ready in time for (NBA) opening night.”
MORE: Marv Albert to call Olympic basketball for first time since 1996
NBC Olympics, Facebook and Instagram will team up to provide video highlights and interviews on social media daily during the Rio Olympics.
An on-site “Social Command Center” in Rio will capture Facebook Live content, including interviews with athletes and NBC Olympics commentators.
A daily two-minute recap video will be produced for Facebook, while Instagram will have a daily slow-motion video around an inspiring moment.
Instagram will also feature NBC Olympics commentators and athletes on its own account, @instagram, along with highlights of NBC videos through its Search & Explore video channels.
More on the NBC Olympics, Facebook and Instagram partnerships is here.
MORE: Complete U.S. Olympic team roster