Members of the Olympic movement were given a taste of British culture at a Royal Opera House reception where London Mayor Boris Johnson welcomed them by reciting a poem in English and ancient Greek.
Committee members including Prince Albert of Monaco and Princess Charlene listened as Boris read the ode specifically created for the London 2012 Games at his suggestion by Oxford academic Dr Armand D”Angour.
The poem in the style of Greek author Pindar contains puns on the athlete”s names and that of Lord Coe.
Declaiming in his typically flamboyant fashion before an audience including Princess Anne, the Mayor, who studied Classics at the university, won cheers, applause and whistles.
It was an ovation even bigger than that for Placido Domingo and Bryn Terfel singing music from the opera Tosca and Beethoven”s Ode to Joy.
Earlier, the Queen laid on a reception for the VIP visitors at Buckingham Palace.
Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Comittee, presented Her Majesty with her own set of gold, silver and bronze medals.
She responded by praising the “dedication, hard work and personal sacrifice” of the athletes.
“We send our warm wishes to them all for a rewarding and enjoyable Games.”