The Vatican has enlisted a group of about 60 Swiss Guards, priests, nuns, and pharmacists as members of its first official track team.
Created with the goal of competing in upcoming international competitions, the team – which even includes a 62-year-old professor who works in the Vatican’s Apostolic Library – is now a part of the Italian track association and is looking to join the International Association of Athletics Federations.
The Vatican aims to sign similar agreements with the Italian Paralympic committee and field a team of disabled athletes.
The new track team will represent the Vatican’s desire to promote sports as a way of encouraging dialogue, peace, and solidarity.
Competitions the Vatican Athletics team is hoping to take part in include the Mediterranean Games and the Games of the Small States of Europe (which are open to states with fewer than 1 million people).
And, the team has an even bigger competition in its long-term plans.
“The dream that we have often had is to see the Holy See flag among the delegations at the opening of the Olympic Games,” said team president Monsignor Melchor Jose Sanchez de Toca y Alameda. “We might even podium.”
Vatican Athletics’ first official outing is later this month at the 10-kilometer “La Corsa di Miguel” (Miguel’s Race) in Rome.