RELIGION

Pope Francis Hopes Rome Hosts 2024 Summer Olympics, But Warns: "I Won't Be Around"

ope Francis keeps the balance of a ball during a meeting with the members of the Italian Sports Center in St. Peter's Square
ope Francis keeps the balance of a ball during a meeting with the members of the Italian Sports Center in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Saturday, June 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has given a papal thumbs up to Rome's bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics amid talk that the Vatican might host some events. But he is warning: "I won't be around."

Francis, 78, met with members of the Italian Olympic Committee at the Vatican Friday for a Mass to mark their 100th anniversary. The soccer-mad Francis extolled the benefits of sport and the peaceful message of the Olympic movement.

He said: "Best wishes also for Rome's bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games!" then added "I won't be around."

Speculation has mounted that the Vatican might host archery or badminton in St. Peter's Square, if Rome gets the Games. Vatican officials say they've discussed the Olympic bid and areas for collaboration, but that no decisions have been made.

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