|Vatican||POPE WARNS ATHLETES ON COMPETITIVE EXCESSES|
During an audience on Friday with competitive cyclists, Pope John Paul II cautioned that the world of sports "cannot be reduced to a simple effort, or a questionable display of physical power."
As he met with participants and organisers of the Tour of Italy, which began on Saturday, the Pope said that healthy athletic competition should bring out some of the more important human virtues, including honesty and fair play as well as discipline and hard work.
The Holy Father also warned against excesses in competition. "The search for better and better technical approaches, and better course conditions, should always be done as a service to the athlete as a person, and not vice versa," he said.
He added that neither athletes nor spectators should be put at risk by the desire for more intense competition. The Pope issued an invitation for all of the cyclists to participate in the Jubilee for sports, which will take place in Rome's Olympic stadium on 29 October.