Pope John Paul II urged the Athens Olympics to be a show of fraternity and peace, and he offered his blessings to the organizers.
The pontiff made the comments yesterday in a meeting with Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni in Vatican City during her European and U.S. tour leading to the Aug. 13-29 Games.
"I express the wish that the next celebration of the Olympic Games in your city be a show of brotherhood for all the participants and a message of peace and union for all those who will be spectators across the world," John Paul said. "In this spirit, I invoke divine blessings for you and all the organizers of this celebration."
Earlier this week, Bakoyianni encouraged countries to attend the Games and not be swayed by security fears. Bakoyianni will go next on her tour to Washington and New York.
The United States is among a seven-nation security advisory group assisting Greek authorities with Olympic security. Greece also has asked NATO to help safeguard the Olympics, mainly with aerial surveillance, sea patrols and protection against a chemical, biological or nuclear attack.
Greece this month increased its Olympic security budget to $1.2 billion and boosted personnel to 70,000 police and soldiers in Athens and Olympic-related areas for the Games.
* CYCLING: Britain's Craig Maclean won a sprint in consecutive races against Spain's Jose Antonio Villanueva Trinidad at a World Cup meet in Sydney.
Britain also won the men's team pursuit over the Netherlands.
Colby Pearce of the United States captured the men's 30-kilometer points race.
New Zealand's Sarah Ulmer won the women's three-kilometer individual pursuit at the Dunc Gray Velodrome. Ulmer, the Commonwealth Games gold medalist in the same event, finished in 3 minutes 31.157 seconds.
She was three-tenths of a second behind the world record set by the Netherlands' Leontien Van Moorsel Zijlaard at the Sydney Olympics.
Yvonne Hijgenaar of the Netherlands took the women's 500-meter time trial in 35.100 seconds. Lori-Ann Muenzer of Canada was second in 35.562 and Clara Sanchez of France third in 35.708.
China's Shuang Guo won the women's keirin event.
* VOLLEYBALL: Italy, Russia and South Korea won berths in the women's tournament. The top four teams in an eight-nation tournament in Tokyo qualify for Athens. Unbeaten Japan earned a berth Friday.
Italy improved to 4-2, beating Russia, 18-25, 22-25, 25-15, 25-17, 16-14. Russia is also 4-2. South Korea defeated winless Nigeria, 25-17, 25-14, 25-13, to improve to 5-1. Japan (6-0) downed Taiwan, 25-27, 25-11, 25-19, 25-22.
Fifth-place Thailand (3-3) defeated Puerto Rico, 25-21, 25-17, 25-23.