EFEVatican City

Pope Francis sent a letter to the Refugee Olympic Team, praising the "courage and strength" of its members who prepare to compete in the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

"I extend my greetings and wish you success at the Olympic Games in Rio - that your courage and strength find expression through the Olympic Games and serve as a cry for peace and solidarity," the pope said, according to the Vatican Radio.

The pontiff expressed his hope that humanity can understand, through the example of these refugee athletes, that "peace is possible, and that with peace everything is a triumph; while with war everything is a loss."

The refugee team consists of 10 athletes, six men and four women, who all fled violence in their countries.