Pope Francis blessed the Olympic flag with holy water and greeted Brazilian Olympic athletes in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday.
Francis, an Argentine elected pope following Pope Benedict XVI‘s resignation in March, is on a weeklong trip to Brazil, according to The Associated Press.
The Rio Olympic Games will be held from Aug. 5-21, 2016.
This isn’t the first pope-Olympic interaction.
On the eve of the London Olympics, then-Pope Benedict XVI issued a message saying he hoped the 2012 Games would help promote peace and friendship. Pope John XXIII greeted Olympians in Rome for the 1960 Games.
The news comes a day after the Chicago Sun-Times ran a notable opinion column (and the front-page image to the right) about the International Olympic Committee’s decision to award the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro over Madrid, Tokyo and Chicago four years ago.
Rio de Janeiro won the voting to become the first South American host of the Olympics.
Chicago was eliminated after the first round of voting in Copenhagen on Oct. 2, 2009. Tokyo, a finalist for the 2020 Olympics, went out in the second round. Madrid, another finalist for 2020, lost to Rio in the final round of voting.
Tokyo, Madrid or Istanbul will be chosen as host for the 2020 Olympics on Sept. 7 in Buenos Aires.
Some Sochi Olympic champions will receive meteorite medals
Bob Costas reported from Rio de Janeiro for NBC News on Wednesday, 100 days out from the Opening Ceremony.
In the clip below, Michael Phelps, Simone Biles and even Brazil soccer legend Pelé comment on preparing for the first Games in South America.
Costas finished the clip with a stand-up from Copacabana Beach, where beach volleyball will take place in August.
VIDEO: Bob Costas picks biggest storyline of Rio Olympics
NBC Olympics will partner with Snapchat for daily “Live Stories” and an NBC Rio Olympic Discover channel (co-produced with Buzzfeed) during the U.S. Olympic Trials and the Rio Games.
The Live Stories allows Snapchatters attending select U.S. Olympic Trials events and the Rio Games to contribute photo and video Snaps to the Snapchat-curated story.
The Live Stories will include behind-the-scenes and fan moments, and Snapchat will feature NBC’s Rio Olympic brand marks, logos and more.
The Discover channel will be live from Aug. 4 (one day before the Opening Ceremony) through Aug. 22 (one day after the Closing Ceremony).
From NBC Sports Group:
Buzzfeed will leverage NBC’s access to athletes, as well as clips and shots from inside and outside Rio Olympic venues, to bring Snapchatters a fresh, mobile-first look at the Games.
MORE: Full Olympic Trials broadcast schedule