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Pope lauds Olympic ideal, frowns on exploitation of athletes

November 25, 2013

Pope Francis paid tribute to the spirit of amateur athletic competition during a November 23 meeting with representatives of the Olympic committees of European nations.

The spirit of friendly competition is “universal, and overcomes borders, barriers, of language, race, religion, and ideology,” the Pope said. He encouraged “approaches to sport for training in peace, in sharing, and the coexistence of peoples.”

“When sport is regarded solely within economic parameters,” the Pope said, “there is the risk of reducing athletes to mere merchandise through whom profit may be obtained.” The best ideal of sporting competition promotes harmony, he said, “but if the unrestrained pursuit of profit and success prevails, this harmony is lost.”


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