London, England – Less than 12 hours before the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said he is optimistic and trustful for the games.
The games have already begun, but the symbolic start takes place Friday night at the opening ceremony. Planned by movie director Danny Boyle, the ceremony has been highly anticipated, though Rogge admitted he doesn't know details of it.
"I was not privy to the script of the opening ceremony because there's always a certain secrecy to be respected," Rogge said. "But my teams have been discussing with Danny Boyle and with all the organizers and they are happy there is a good balance between international and national."
At the same time, the ceremony has been expected to have a distinctly British feel, down to Boyle saying he would supply rain if need be.
Rogge said it would be wise for Boyle and the London Olympics not to emulate the much-lauded opening ceremony from four years ago in Beijing. Those watching it, he said, will see a display of British culture.
"You will see something about the history, about the way of life, about what I would call the Britishness," Rogge said. "The same way you had the same situation in Beijing.
"There's also something that London can bring and that no other country in the world can bring, is that Great Britain was the cradle of modern sport because you have invented modern sport in the second half of the 19th century."
London is the first city to host the Olympic Games three times.
Rogge, however, did not provide any clues as to who will light the Olympic cauldron Friday night. He said he didn't know who will get that honor.
"This is one of the best kept secrets and we have an arrangement with the organizing committees always to say, 'It is your responsibility,'" Rogge said. "And we need not to know because the more people know, the bigger the danger of a leak."
He said it would be nice for the person to be an Olympic champion -- Roger Bannister and Steve Redgrave have been betting favorites recently -- but "it is not a prerequisite."
One thing the opening ceremony won't have is a commemoration of the tragedy at the 1972 Munich Olympics, when a group of Palestinians killed 11 Israeli team members. This year will be the 40th anniversary of those attacks.
Rogge said the IOC has faced no pressure "whatsoever" from any nation to commemorate the tragedy at this summer's games, but argued that his organization has always remembered those who were killed.
He cited the memorial service that occurred the day after the killings, and the memorial built next to the Olympic stadium in Munich, as evidence of this. Rogge added that he has participated in a number of other memorial services, and will participate in another September 5 -- the actual day of the tragedy.
"So we have always commemorated and we will continue to commemorate the memory of the killed athletes," he said.
As for the rest of games, Rogge said he thinks the preparation for them has been "exemplary." To him, the key ingredients are security, a good Olympic village, athletic spirit, and a well functioning transport system.
Rogge said, in terms of readiness, the London Olympics equal those of Sydney and Beijing -- both regarded as successful games during his tenure as the head of the IOC.
"But again, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so maybe ask me the same question at the press conference at the closing ceremony," Rogge said.
Rogge recognized that a games can only be successful once they're over. One incident can brand an Olympics, including a doping scandal.
He said that the number of athletes caught before the games is proof that the system works.
"This is a good sign for the fight against doping," Rogge said. "In total, 107 athletes were caught positive in the two months preceding the Olympic Games. We are continuing to test and test and test again before the competition."