07/27/2012 07:38 EDT | Updated 09/26/2012 05:12 EDT

IOC president: London Olympics a 'major boost for gender equality'

LONDON - International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge has praised London as a "diverse, vibrant, cosmopolitan" city and thanked it for hosting the games for a record third time.

The IOC leader made his remarks in a speech to 60,000 spectators and thousands of athletes at Friday's opening ceremony.

Rogge says it's "a major boost for gender equality" that all 204 participating countries include female competitors for the first time.

He has warned the athletes to reject doping, saying they will be judged by how they compete, not whether they win.

"Character counts far more than medals," he said, his words ringing out across Olympic Stadium.