1. Pope Francis sent a special message for the Olympics: "In a world thirsting for peace, tolerance, and reconciliation, I hope that the spirit of the Olympic Games inspires all – participants and spectators – to “fight the good fight” and finish the race together (cf. 2 Tim 4,7-8), desiring to obtain as a prize, not a medal, but something much more precious: the construction of a civilization in which solidarity reigns and is based upon the recognition that we are all members of the same human family, regardless of the differences of culture, skin color, or religion."
2. A Catholic priest is coordinating the inter-religious center for athletes at the Olympic Village. He said, “We are a symbol of peace, brotherhood and the unity of peoples.”
3.The center will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, from July 24-Aug. 24 for Olympic athletes and their delegations and September 1-21 for Paralympic athletes and delegations.
4. The inter-religious center has five meeting rooms, each occupied by one of the five faiths chosen by the International Olympic Committee: Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. The Catholic Church will represent the Christian faith. These religions were chosen based on the faith composition of the athletes slated to compete in the Olympic Games. The center will host group meetings and Masses.
5. The Cardinal of Brazil blessed the Olympic Torch at the site of the Jesus Redeemer Statue.
“This is the moment for us to surpass our difficulties and work together as a team, making our country and our world safer, less unequal, and putting love in the hearts of all,” the cardinal explained.
6.The original Olympics began in the 6th century B.C. in Greece.The games were connected to their worship of gods. Athletes often dedicated their performances to a patron god. In around 390AD the Olympics were banned due to its paganism. For 1,500 years, there were no Olympic Games.
7. A Catholic, Pierre de Coubertin, from France and educated by Jesuits initiated their rebirth. In 1889, he began with the motive of promoting peace between nations.
8. The International Olympic Committee was founded by de Coubertin in 1894. The first modern international games were held in 1896, in Athens.
9. During the opening ceremonies - Athletes take an “Olympic Oath” to respect and abide by the rules, to play fair and not cheat.
10. There is an Olympics every 2 years.