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Rogge: London Games refreshed Olympic brand

Updated: 2012-08-13 08:14
By Reuters in London ( China Daily)

The 2012 London Games succeeded in refreshing the Olympic brand by injecting enthusiasm as organizers delivered on their promise to create an event tailor-made for athletes, Jacques Rogge said on Sunday.

Hours before the flame was extinguished at the stadium's cauldron during the Games closing ceremony, International Olympic Committee president Rogge said he was a happy man.

"I am a happy and grateful man. On July 6, 2005, London promised athletes' Games and that is exactly what we got," said Rogge, who presided over his last Games, sitting next to London Games chief Sebastian Coe.

"I will say history has been written by many athletes. The Games were absolutely fabulous. London has absolutely refreshed the Games," he said.

Organizers, who struggled with some empty seats in officials' seating areas in the opening days, saw the British public pour into the arenas, setting new spectator records.

The host nation has won a record 28 gold medals going into the final day of competition - its best performance in more than a century - as well as 15 silver and 19 bronze.

Rogge said London would not be the same after hosting the Games and urged national sports bodies and politicians to harness the energy and momentum the Olympics had created across Britain with a long-term sports plan.

"I think this is a challenge Britain faces, to continue on this wave. There is a great foundation that has been laid."

The outpouring of joy and enthusiasm, said Rogge, was vital for the success of the Olympics, prepared in the midst of a global economic downturn with an operational budget of 2 billion pounds and another 9.3 billion pounds in direct Olympic investment.

"Everything indicates that the operational budget will be in balance," Rogge said.

London has had, until now, fewer doping cases than the Beijing Olympics four years ago with 11 athletes expelled by the IOC or their teams during the Olympic period starting in July 16. Another 117 were caught using banned substances in the two months leading up to the Games.

There were 20 proven cases of doping at the Beijing Games four years ago, including six horses, down from 26 cases in Athens in 2004. Five of those positive tests emerged in re-testing of samples after the Games.

"It is a sign that the system works," Rogge said. "I am happy about the fact that we could catch athletes who cheated."

He said samples would again be kept for eight years and re-tested when newer methods of detection emerged or a yet unknown substance was revealed in the coming years.

(China Daily 08/13/2012 page12)