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.