(dpa) - International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge Thursday spoke for the first time of a "crisis" for the Olympics following days of protests along the torch route.
But Rogge said there had been greater problems in the past for the Olympics movement to solve and added he was sure the Beijing Games would prove to be a success.
After China's crackdown in Tibet and the torch relay protests, the present situation was "a challenge," Rogge said after an IOC executive meeting.
But the IOC president said there could be no comparison to past challenges including Olympic boycotts or events such as the massacre at the 1972 Munich Games.
Members of the IOC expressed relief that the San Francisco leg of the Olympic torch relay had occurred without major incidents.
After the mayhem that haunted the legs in London and Paris this week, Rogge said the situation in San Francisco "was better."
"It was, however, not the joyous party that we had wished it to be," he added.
Meanwhile speaking in Tokyo ahead of a visit to the United States, the Dalai Lama - who many Tibetans regard as their spiritual leader - supported China's right to host the Games, but said people also had the right to express their opinions without using violence.
Rogge told a joint meeting between the Association of National Olympic Committees and the IOC executive board that officials should provide reassurance to athletes.
"Tell them not to lose faith," Rogge said.
"Tell them that they are going to set an example and that the world will be watching them. "We have 120 days to achieve that and I am sure it is going to be successful."
Rogge said he had been "saddened' by violent protests in Europe during the Olympic torch relay, but he believed the San Francisco relay had been an improvement.
The symbolic flame was spirited Wednesday through San Francisco in the face of demonstrations against the Beijing-bound torch relay.
Officials devised numerous ploys to keep the torch far from thousands of protestors who lined the official route, hiding it a warehouse, transporting it by bus, police boat and amphibious vehicle and redirecting runners far from the original path.
Finally, authorities cancelled the official farewell ceremony and secreted the torch to the city's airport, where it was flown quietly to Argentina, the next stop on a global tour plagued by demonstrations against China's crackdown in Tibet and other human- rights policies.
The Olympic flame was lit in Greece on March 24 and is being relayed through 20 countries before being carried into the opening ceremony in Beijing on August 8.
"We note with great joy that nothing happened in San Francisco," IOC vice president Thomas Bach said.
IOC marketing chief Gerhard Heiberg called himself "satisfied because there were no injuries" while Swedish executive board member Gunilla Lindbergh praised the resolve not to break off the international leg of the torch relay. "It was the right decision," she said.