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5 Cities Officially Begin Quest to Host 2012 Olympics

Five of the world's top cities officially begin their quest to win the right to host the 2012 Olympics on Monday.

That's when the final bid books have to be delivered to the International Olympic Committee's headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The bids detail how the candidate cities - Paris, London, New York, Madrid and Moscow - plan to put on sport's most prestigious event. It is the first step in an intense international campaign to impress the 120-odd IOC members who will decide the winner in Singapore on July 6.

Strict new bidding rules limiting contact with members were imposed by the IOC's ethics commission following the Salt Lake City scandal.

IOC inspectors begin evaluating the five candidates early next year with a visit to Madrid from February 3 to 6. Inspectors will be in London from February 16 to 19, New York from February 21 to 24, Paris from March 9 to 12 and Moscow from March 14 to 17.