A record number of cities, 11, have submitted bids to host the 2004 Olympics by yesterday's deadline, the International Olympic Committee reported.
The candidates are: Athens; Buenos Aires; Cape Town, South Africa; Istanbul; Lille, France; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Rome; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Seville, Spain; Stockholm and St Petersburg, Russia. Three of them have previously hosted the Games - Athens (1896), Stockholm (1912) and Rome (1960).
The previous highest number of candidates for the Summer Olympics was seven for the 2000 Games. There were nine bidders for the 2002 Winter Games, secured by Salt Lake City.
IOC officials will meet technical representatives of the 11 cities in Lausanne on 23 Jan to discuss the bidding process. The cities must submit official bid documents, including details of financing, infrastructure and sports venues, by 15 Aug.
A special IOC electoral college will reduce the field to four, or at most five, finalists in late March or early April 1997. The host city will be selected at the IOC session in September 1997.