Queen hosts IOC at Buckingham

Queen Elizabeth II lauds the personal sacrifice made by athletes to be part of the London Olympics 2012.

Queen Elizabeth II waves as she leaves St Paul's Cathedral in London on June 5, 2012. Picture: AFP.

LONDON - The Queen hosted a reception on Monday night for International Olympic Committee members at Buckingham Palace.

She hailed the "dedication, hard work and personal sacrifice" of athletes taking part in the London Games.

Meanwhile, a dress rehearsal of the opening ceremony has been held in front of VIPs who were urged not to reveal any details.

The Queen held the reception in the Buckingham Palace Ballroom.

She gave a short speech welcoming all the countries attending the Games, more than 200 in total and the 10 000 athletes currently undertaking final preparations.

She said hosting the Games had inspired the country whether by motivating Brits to take up physical activity or encouraging them to demonstrate Olympic values of excellence, respect and friendship.

She spoke ahead of an opening ceremony rehearsal where the crowd was urged to keep the content under wraps.

Hundreds followed the advice but took to Twitter to rave about the content to be performed on Friday night.