Rogge confident Games will leave legacy for London

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge expressed his confidence on Monday the London Olympics would leave a lasting legacy for the city.

The 70-year-old, speaking at the opening of the IOC session at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, praised London for the way the UK capital had previously twice come to the aid of the Olympic movement by staging Games at short notice.

London, who stunned long-time favourites Paris by winning the right to host the Games at the vote in Singapore in 2005, will become the first city to host three Olympics when they officially open on Friday.

Rogge, who was elected to his post in 2001 when the late Juan Antonio Samaranch stepped down, said he believed the Games would reflect the greatness of the city.

"I am confident these Games will capture the spirit of this great cosmopolitan city," said Rogge.

"I am confident these Games will leave a lasting positive legacy for London."

Rogge, who is presiding over his last Olympics in his present role as he steps down in September next year, said London was a city steeped in Olympic history, especially when times were hard.

"London has a special place in Olympic history," said Rogge.

"London will be the first city to host the Games three times. But that fact alone does not capture the full impact of London's contribution.

"In 1908, London helped the fledgling Olympic movement remain on track by serving as host after Rome pulled out as a result of the devastating eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

"By instituting higher standards for referees and qualification guidelines for competitors, the 1908 Games are remembered as the first truly modern Olympic Games.

"London came to the rescue again in 1948, in the aftermath of World War II. The so-called 'austerity Games' provided a badly needed antidote that helped ease the transition to peace."

Rogge said the ethos of fair play that is a cornerstone of the Olympic movement had really come to fruition in England.

"Britain is rightfully recognised as the birthplace of modern sport," said Rogge.

"It was here that the concept of fair play was first codified in formal rules and regulations.

"(Baron) Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the Olympic movement, was deeply influenced by the ethos and organisation of British sport.

"De Coubertin's travels to Britain in the late 1800s significantly influenced the ideas that led to the creation of the modern Olympic movement in 1894."

Rogge added the magic of the Games would rub off on everyone.

"I can predict with certainty that we will all leave London with memories to last a lifetime."