The London Games will show the world what Britain is capable of, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said.
Speaking on Sky News' Murnaghan programme, he said the Olympics will boost national confidence at a time when the country needs it.
"We've been through a very difficult patch and I think what we're going to see over the next seven weeks, is us showing the world what we're really capable of.
"Not just the fact that we're capable of putting on the world's biggest sports event in the calm, professional, disciplined way that I know we will, but also playing to our great cultural strengths."
He said the UK's building industry would be a major benefactor.
"Twenty years ago we were sometimes a laughing stock as a country, we couldn't even build a stadium without it going over budget and being massively delayed.
"But here you have the biggest construction project in Europe completed on time - most of it a year early - to a budget that was set in 2007."
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, speaking on the same programme, agreed with Hunt's assesment of the Games' value to the nation.
"This is the global sporting event," he said. "The reason people compete so hotly to get it is because of what it does for a country. It allows you to showcase your country, to present your country to the world."
The Mayor of London - Boris Johnson - has told of his frustration over plans for thousands of Border Agency and Home Office staff to go on strike just ahead of the event.
There is a threatened walk-out over pay and conditions, but Mr Johnson said he is confident workers will choose to get behind the Olympics.
"I think it's peculiar that the union leadership should decide to do this at this very moment, I think it's frankly a mistake on their part.
"I think the overwhelming majority of (union members) will want to get behind the Olympic Games and come to work. I'm sure that's what's going to happen.
"If that doesn't happen we have contingency plans to make sure that we get people through the airports and to the venues on time."
Meanwhile the Olympic torch was held aloft on top of the London Eye this morning by student explorer Amelia Hempleman.
The teenager, who became the youngest person to ski to the South Pole aged just 16, stood on one of the iconic structure’s 32 capsules.
Amelia, now 17, is the daughter of adventurer David Hempleman-Adams, who carried out the expedition with her last December.
The stunt marked the start of the latest leg of the torch relay, which will see the flame carried through the eastern fringes of London.
Thousands of people lined the route through Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham, and Havering and Bexley.
Former world heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis will be among those carrying the torch on Sunday.