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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

aOlympic Site Bids Submitted

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- A record 11 cities submitted their official bids to stage the 2004 Olympics ahead of Thursday's midnight deadline, kicking off what will be the biggest battle ever to host the summer Games.

The number of bids eclipsed the previous high of nine that fought for the right to hold 2002 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah.

There was a low key start to the campaigning as delegates from Cape Town, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Lille, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, San Juan, Stockholm, Rome, Athens and St. Petersburg arrived at the International Olympic Committee, or IOC, offices in Lausanne and without ceremony handed their proposals to Jacqueline Barrett, IOC head of candidate cities relations.

The packages all contained answers to an IOC questionnaire and blueprints, including financial guarantees, for each candidates plans to host the 28th Olympiad.

With the preliminaries out of the way, each of the bidders will spend the next six months attempting to convince the IOC they would be the perfect host for the 2004 Games.

The IOC evaluation commission will begin work with a visit to St. Petersburg from Sept. 16 to 20.