International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge says everything is in place for a successful games in China. VOA's Jim Stevenson reports from Beijing that the IOC is confident that the competition itself will emerge as the lasting memories of the 29th Olympiad.
As the Beijing Olympics get under way, IOC head Jacques Rogge says the intense lead-up to the games is similar to an elite athlete preparing for the most important of competitions.
"We have prepared for seven years together with BOCOG [Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games]," Rogge said. "I feel like the athlete who knows he or she has done everything that was needed and what was possible before the competition. And then the competition has begun. So you long for the competition. That is the state of mind where we are."
The IOC has been criticized for selecting China because of political, social and environmental issues. But Rogge says the most important reason China was selected is because it will expose Olympic competition to a unprecedented number of people.
"China will be opening Olympism to one-fifth of mankind, one billion, three hundred million people," he noted. "That is a unique feature that only China can offer."
Concerning the events themselves, Rogge says the IOC is dedicated to containing the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
"Our sacred duty is to reduce doping to the lowest possible level," Rogge said. "We have an obligation to put in place all the means we have. But we can not be hoping to have a zero doping situation."
About 4500 drug tests will be carried out during the Beijing Olympics. And beyond the record number of tests, Rogge says athlete samples will be frozen and stored for eight years, just in case future tests are developed for drugs that may be undetectable now.