Italy TravelVatican City Now Has An Athletic Team

Vatican City Now Has An Athletic Team
Published on Thursday, February 14, 2019 by

Vatican City sits completely within the city of Rome so it is sometimes easy to forget that it is indeed its own city-state. However, it is likely that soon the Vatican will have its own athletics team with the hopes of perhaps competing on the world stage at the Olympic Games.

Thanks to an agreement with the Italian Olympic organization, CONI, the Vatican athletes are recognized as being a part of Italian sport and they can compete in national or international events under Italian coaching. In the past, the Vatican has had soccer and cricket teams, but this is their first move to be recognized as an official team at the Olympics and other internationally recognized sporting events.

A mix of Swiss Guards, priests, nuns, a Vatican library professor and a pharmacist make up the inaugural Vatican Athletics team. Two Muslim migrants are also honorary members of the team. The group aims to join the Games of the Small States of Europe in the near future. The competition is for states with less than one million residents.

Vatican athletes dress in navy tracksuits with white and yellow stripes- the signature colors of the Vatican- and of course wear the emblem of the Vatican- St. Peter’s crossed keys. Visitors to the landlocked state might expect to see nuns and priests in robes going about their daily business in robes and Roman collars, perhaps with rosary beads in hand, but it is truly extraordinary to see these members of the church getting their daily workouts in, running at full speed against the backdrop of St. Peter’s giant dome.

Vatican Athletics is formed on the platform of using sport as an “instrument of dialogue, peace and solidarity”and their main message is to “is to promote through sport messages of solidarity, (and to) fight against racism and all kinds of violence.”

By Kathy McCabe

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