London, Paris, New York, Moscow and Madrid will be candidate cities to host the 2012 Olympics.
Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul, Leipzig and Havana were unsuccessful. The nine rival countries were judged on the 50-page detailed questionnaire they submitted in January.
Each had to give details of their concept, political support, finance, venues, accommodation, transport and general conditions.
ASK THE EXPERT
You put your questions to former Sports Minister Tony Banks in a LIVE interactive forum.
The choices of candidate cities was mostly as expected but Rio had also been predicted to become a candidate country.
Who do you think should host the Olympic Games in 2012?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far.
What about a joint effort between London and Paris? They are certainly close enough to each other. The last World Cup hosted jointly by Japan and South Korea worked pretty well and probably helped reduce the traditional hostility between the two countries. Likewise, the British and the French can show the world that they are big enough to put their petty differences aside and work together to uphold the Olympic spirit of unity, participation and comradeship (with a healthy element of competition, too).
S. Yang, London, England
I believe it is the turn of France. Of the remaining competitors, their country has had the longest interval since last hosting it. More importantly, they already have more of the required facilities than any other bidder and have proven themselves in recent years with a World Cup and a world athletics championship. My second choice would have to be New York, arguably the greatest world city never to have had the privilege.
Rossa, Dublin, Ireland
Let's get the whole country behind this bid to really help turn around British sport.
Lisa Hacker, London, UK
I think London would be a great place to have the 2012 Olympics. Given the size of the London metro area, it seems to me that the Los Angeles 1984 model of spreading out the venues and enlisting the cooperation of local businesses to help reduce road congestion might be helpful.
Mark Hartman, Anaheim, California, USA
Anyone but London please! The roads and public transport are troubled enough, it's bound to go over budget and for what - the most enviable target for terrorists worldwide. Give it to the French then interested Brits can still go and see it (the French can probably build an entire Olympic village for what a staircase costs to construct at Wembley 2 in London)
New York should be chosen for the 2012 Olympics. Paris, London and Moscow have been hosted previous Olympiads and Madrid can't match NY spectacular skyline and cultural diversity.
Francisco Trilla, Hollywood,Fl.USA
It may cost £3 billion but think of the revenue it would bring to the UK.
Sarah Miles, Worcestershire
I may be the only American to say this, but I too would like to see the games hosted in Paris. While New York would be an excellent choice, the US has been host to several games in recent history. And as they are a world affair, I would like other countries to have the honour. And Paris offers a backdrop like few places can to display the Games.
Adrian Leod, Philadelphia, USA
The Olympics will leave a legacy of top-class sports venues which is exactly what London needs. The Commonwealth Games left Manchester with a great swimming pool that I delighted in using while at university. It's not a waste of money. If it helps sort out London's transport nightmare that has to be a bonus.
Tom Skinner, Brighton, UK
Fantastic, give London the Olympics. Maybe they'll find a suitable use for the Millennium Dome. Indoor bowls perhaps..
Chris Hughes, Nottingham
Please God, not England. The government can't even cope rebuilding Wembley stadium - can you imagine the farce an Olympics would create?
Adam Senior, Sheffield, England
It would seem logical that I would suggest NY especially considering the recent events. We in NY want to show that despite the terror attacks, we have come together as a city and rebuilt what was lost. Being the only non-European city to be on the list should be considered an advantage.
Ash A, New York, USA
The Olympics is such a prestigious event. One of the European Cities should be given a chance. My view is that Paris would be an ideal City. It has so much flair and charm as its one of the most beautiful cities in the world. London would be too congested.
Nita, Leicester, UK
Madrid deserve to host this games, not just because its welcoming people and culture, but because it is the only big European capital which never hosted such a event, I think the people of Madrid deserve that.
Alexis , London, UK
Definitely not New York, the poor athletes wouldn't even be able to get proper visas!
David McNabb, Knoxville, USA
I would love to see it held in NY and wouldn't see it as a burden on my daily commute to work/home. A city's tourists just help you enjoy your own city more-see it through different eyes. (And just think of the extra money you could make renting out your flat for a week or two-cheaper for visitors than a hotel and a little extra change for you!)That said, it would also be great to watch the games from any of the other beautiful and historic cities nominated.
Avril , NY, USA
With all of the financial problems cities in the US are having, New York is definitely not the city to hold the 2012 Olympics, perhaps 2016 or 2020. There is too much construction to be done and not enough funds with which to build all of the needed venues. Given its infrastructure and great showing in hosting the World Cup, Paris would be a much wiser choice.
Liz Lewis, Montgomery, Alabama, USA
How can people be so short-sighted? Who is going to pay for this? Answer: The taxpayer. How many long term jobs will it provide? Answer None! What is left at the end of the Olympics? Answer: A multi-national profits rise...British people are poorer! Has there ever been an Olympics that has turned a profit? Answer: No. Every Olympic Games has come out at a loss. A loss the taxpayer has to bear. Not the multi-nationals! Give the Olympics to the US, they deserve it!
Mark Shanahan, Sussex UK
Paris is the ideal city for the 2012 Olympics. The infrastructure is way above all other contenders and the food is great.
How can people be so joyless - it would be an honour to host an Olympics, the revenue created from it can then go into more "worthy" causes. No-one seems to have pride in their own country here in Britain and it's a such shame. What a bunch of moaners.
Alice, London, UK
I say Madrid. Madrid has never ever hosted the Olympics and the other candidate cities have. Yes, Barcelona hosted the 1992 games, but in 2012, it'll be 20 years past - surely Madrid should take the bid.
The weather in London is so bad and the transportation is so crowded; New York is so dangerous, it is a target for terrorism; Moscow is not safe too beacuse of the interior wars; and the bombs were just dropped in Madrid. So, Paris is the most suitable city to hold the game.
I think the Olympic committee missed a trick not putting Istanbul on the shortlist. It would be a real opportunity to make Muslim nations feel more included in the global community. However as a Brit living in New York I'm not displeased to see both London and New York make the shortlist.
Nick Goodey, New York
Let the Moscow have the games. They deserve them more than anybody. Also why should some countries host the Olympics every few years while the other nations have never had them? Either share the games or let them be held permanently in the country of origin - Greece.
Milos Matijevic, Oakville, Canada
London's weather is unstable; New York is quite dirty; Madrid is too hot; Moscow - just forget about it! Paris is the place to be!
Lubo Kutsilev, Washington DC, USA
Given that London cannot cope with a rush hour, how will it cope with the Olympics?
MM, London, UK
If we do it, the government will spend our money on transport infrastructure. Good I hear you say, about time etc etc etc. Then the private companies running the trains can make masses of profits for its shareholders and members of its board.
I think Moscow would be an excellent choice for the Olympics. Muscovites, and Russians in general, still remember fondly the 1980 Moscow games, and they've always been anxious to show off their remarkable city and sports talent again for the world.
Eric Norton, St Petersburg, Russia
To host the games in London would be a fantastic boost to sport in Britain as well as the transportation system around London. But I fear that our involvement in Iraq will exclude us at the final hurdle. Perhaps rightly so.
Richard, Bucks, UK
Forget the politics, forget who held the games when, the people of Britain should get behind London to hold the games because it is the best city in the world and I for one want to see the worlds premier sporting competition in my country.
Peter Simon, Lancaster, England
Madrid. After the train bombing, the city deserves some financial benefit and international goodwill.
Mariah, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
I favour Paris. Of the top five and in the current political climate, it has the best chance of still being standing come 2012.
Oh please anywhere but New York! It's already crowded enough, expensive enough and full of enough tourists to make my daily chores a dreaded occurrence. If somehow NYC does get it, can the IOC at least sponsor classes to teach tourists how to walk on sidewalks? Stay to the right, don't dawdle and don't walk five across so no one can get around you!
Ann, New York, USA
I would love it if London got the Olympics. But lets be realistic about it, London does not have the infrastructure and I personally cannot see us being able to rectify this by 2012. I think Paris would be the best option it's a beautiful city and their infrastructure is a 100 times better than ours, and there is the added bonus that the High speed rail link will bring some money into the country by shipping everyone daily via Eurostar.
Kevin, Canterbury, UK
As an East-Londoner, I think that if London was to host the Olympics this would generate many jobs and opportunities for London's deprived communities, and show the world that East London means more then Eastenders!
Marriane, Newham, London, UK
London's public transport is already overcrowded. Thousands of tourists flocking to London for the Olympics would make getting anywhere a complete nightmare.
E, London, UK
The ideal place for the Olympic Games is London. The structure of the London population is much like those of the Olympics games...very diverse. London would be perfect for the games. Absolutely perfect.
William Lanier, Texas, USA
I don't think London should win this bid. I would prefer to see either New York or Paris hosting the Olympics. But as other people highlighted, the US has hosted several Olympics in the recent years, and therefore Paris seems to be the best candidate.
FC, Glasgow, UK
I am from East London but I do not welcome the bid. Even if London does win, local people won't get anywhere near the stadium and will be forced to watch all the action on TV. Why then should they care WHERE the Olympics happen? Why also should extremely deprived areas like Stratford and Hackney have to fork out just for fat cats to prance around in VIP boxes? This Olympics bid is all about big business and not people. I hope Paris gets it.
MG, East London
Having seen the incredible impact the Olympic Games had on my country, I wish Great Britain all the best in securing the Games. In my opinion, London rescued the Olympic Games in 1948 after the turmoil of the Second World War. Now it's time for the British people to really express themselves in this great sporting event. I think you sceptics will be surprised at how good an Olympics in London would be. It's been far too long for a country like GB to be without a major international sporting event.
Tim Kelly, Australia
What an uninspiring shortlist. Why should London or Paris host for a third time when the entire continents of South America and Africa haven't had a games between them? This is a politicians' ego bid, and a waste of our money. New York is by far the best choice from a desperately vapid set of cities.
Moscow, hands down should be the choice. After the 1980 fiasco where the US boycotted the games there, the country deserves to host a legitimate Olympic games.
Jonathanopolis, Milwaukee, USA
Four small words should sum up our capabilities..."Millennium Dome" and "Wembley Stadium"!! Forget it now before we waste any more money.
Sally Marshall, Wellingborough
They should share it around! When was the last time it was in Africa or South America? The Olympic Committee should follow the lead of the World Cup Committee in shifting the host city around continents.
Naysawn Naderi, Montreal, Canada
I live in fear of my current council tax bill - what's it going to be when Ken Livingstone adds another £100 or more to pay for this vanity? Let the French have it, since they seem to have built it and paid for it already!
Michael Jacobs, Edgware, England
I would like to see Moscow have another chance to host. The 1980 events were held under the shadow of the Cold War, so why not let them try again without so much politics involved? Failing that, I guess Beach Volleyball under the Eiffel Tower would be quite a sight.
Joel H, Baltimore, USA
Beach volleyball under the Eiffel Tower sounds enticing but it's got to be London. Holding the games in the UK will pour billions into the economy, encourage sport in an increasingly overweight society and it'll be a fantastic chance for us Brits to get to see some top quality action. Come on London!
Jon, Manchester, UK
It would be nice to have the Olympics 2012 in two cities like London and Paris. They are so close and have very good transportation links and sport facilities.
German G, Maracaibo, Venezuela
Not New York and not London because of their countries' role in Iraq which might attract revenge in some form or another. Safer ground would be Paris, Moscow or Madrid.
Stephanie Moost, USA
I find it hard to 'get behind' London's 2012 Olympic bid because I cannot bear the Olympics. Some of the people writing in seem to assume that it is a matter of national pride to support this bid but I cannot support something which I believe to be so dull and unimportant. What a waste of time, money and my television screen every 4 years.
With the high cost of staging these games, can we really afford it?. The money could be better spent on the country rather than a quick ego trip such has the games.
Clive, Dartford, UK
It would be great for the UK to hold the Olympic Games but I don't see why it has to be London. Manchester staged a brilliant Commonwealth Games two years ago and therefore already has great facilities. There are also other great cities around the UK that don't have the congestion and transportation problems of London.
Ben Watson, Portsmouth, UK
I believe that the Olympics belong to Athens and that ancient city should hold the games every four years with every member country of the IOC contributing to the cost of staging it.
Subas, Orpington, Kent
So the whole country should get behind London's bid? Remember how Birmingham and Manchester's bids were ridiculed by the London media? Sorry, we have long memories.
James Judge, Altrincham, England
Surely the IOC must be running out of excuses not to let London host the games. Most of us weren't born when London hosted the first games after WW2. No other country could have pulled it off in such circumstances, and the thanks that London got has been to be snubbed ever since.
To the people who suggest it is a waste of public money. An Olympics will make more than it costs in overall benefit for the winning city. If London were to get it, it would rejuvenate a part of the metropolis that badly needs it and will enliven the whole country. Just see what it did in Spain in 1992. London helped the Olympics out twice, it deserves it this time.
Graeme, London, England
I live in Madrid and the last thing we need here is an event as the Games to add more inconveniences to the city for the next eight years. I honestly do not see any advantage in hosting the games, but I am sure they will bring a lot of trouble to most of us. I beg the members of The International Olympic Committee to choose some other city.
Fernando G, Madrid, Spain
As an ex-Londoner living in the NE, and being a sports fan, I do hope when it comes to buying tickets for these events in London (should we be lucky enough to succeed) that they won't all be given over to corporate functions and that us "commoners" will get some even out here in the sticks... After all I expect we'll be asked to pay for it too!!!!!
I think London. Or perhaps a share between London and Paris, due to the locality. I wish the British people would see past the initial expense and realise that not only could being host raise our profile, but would leave London with many facilities to be enjoyed by our youth and other segments of the population too, for many years. Good luck to all of those involved in our bid.
Antony, Taichung, Taiwan (from UK)
As a teacher in a struggling inner city comprehensive I find it totally outrageous that the government is prepared to commit such a large sum of money on what is really just a few weeks of propagandist publicity. I am in no doubt that the Games would show our capital in a positive light to the rest of the world, but what good is this if the reality of life in our cities is disguised by a charade?
Kirsten Timbrell, London, UK
Anywhere BUT London. It's already too expensive to live here and I won't be surprised if they overcharge in transportation, accommodation and other public services when the time comes to run the event. People just cannot afford to enjoy the games without spending a fortune. Too expensive, too risky, less classy and not of historical value.
Having lived and worked in both London and Paris, I think Paris would be a better host. I'd love the UK to host the games but London is simply too congested. London doesn't need better public transport - it needs fewer people trying to get into it every day.
Rolf Howarth, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
So many people say "what a waste of money" and "spend it on the country's infrastructure". Where is your sense of national pride? We have a wonderful country here, and the Olympics is a great platform to promote it on.
Let Paris have it. Close enough for us to enjoy it and to visit for the day (assuming we manage to get the Channel Tunnel rail link done on time!), far enough away so that we don't have to pay for it.
Madrid. The Spanish had one of the best ever in Barcelona so let's give them another shot at it.
It would be awful if London lost the bid because of apathy from the public. Remember the atmosphere when Euro 96 was on - electric! And the money spent is nearly always recouped with TV deals and the increased visitors. Bring it on!
Looking at some of the comments from my countrymen and women I can't help but feel that we don't deserve the 2012 Olympics in the UK. London was marked down due to a failure of the public to get behind the bid and this sort of attitude can't help. Hosting the Olympics is an honour, not just for the host city, but the whole country. We should all get behind this chance to regenerate and invest in a part of the country that sorely needs it (exactly the sort of thing the naysayers are complaining about). Otherwise we're just handing it on a plate to the French. Come on guys, show a bit of enthusiasm!
Howard, St Annes, UK
I'm sure if London wins the bid, the French will herald it as a triumph for Europe, just like they did the Rugby World Cup.
Please can we put the British trait for whingeing to one side and accentuate the positive for a change? Everyone in the UK should get behind London's bid. Hosting the Olympics isn't just about a fortnight of sport. It's also about the feel-good factor and the legacy for future generations. London is a genuine world-class city. Of course it can and should host the 2012 Games.
Howard Carr, London, UK
Please, anywhere but New York.
Dave Weingart, Long Island, NY, USA
Not London please. The UK does not do well on big infrastructure projects. Most certainly the Olympics would go over time and over budget and the UK just cannot afford it. Let the French spent their money.
Guy Massey, Sudbury, UK.
Yes, London has twice before held the Olympics, but on both occasions, stepped in to host it at short notice, under emergency circumstances. It would now be nice to see this wonderful city awarded the Olympics on its own merits, which I am sure it can achieve with full backing from the public, government and business alike.
Mark, London, England
Well I hope that they can't make their minds up and then decide to cancel it all. The thought of more sport, even in 2012 is too much to bear.
Andrew M, Walsall, UK
France did such a wonderful job hosting the World Cup in 1997, and the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, they should be given the opportunity to host another successful event.
Gaelle Lair, New York, USA
Too many events, too corrupt and too expensive. Anywhere but here please.
Giles Culpepper, London, UK
The idea of one city hosting the Olympics seems crazy now that the event is so big. Isn't it time to start having a country or even a continent hosting it - European Olympics in 2012, North American in 2016, etc?
Mark Sixsmith, Prague, Czech
How much public money has already been wasted in putting this bid together? Quit now before it's too late and spend it on something more worthy.
AC, Glasgow, Scotland
Politics will decide who hosts the games. With the US, UK and Spain all fighting a war in Iraq on illegitimate grounds we have segregated ourselves from the rest of the global community. Paris will win hands down because the French have been wise enough to stay out of this mess.
Kieran Colville, London, England
London is the best city to have the Olympics in 2010 - the historical buildings, royal family, the citizens are used to visitors and welcome them, they can combine this with the Olympics.
A C Masterson, London
Moscow will be a very good choice. It has been more than two decades since they hosted the event. Russia will get a moral and economic boost which is necessary for it to play its role in world affairs. Also that country has growing sports talent as is evidenced in many international events.
Balagopal K, Raleigh, United States
The US has already hosted two summer and two winter Olympics since the 1980's. Barcelona hosted the Olympics in 1992, and Moscow in 1980. So I think these countries have a bit of a nerve asking to do it again so soon. I may be British, but if London doesn't get it, I think it would be only fair for Paris to be hosts.
Jan, London, UK
For the reasons Jan outlined, it should be Paris and then London. With the Eurostar line linking London and Paris to be completed in 2007, the journey time will be only 2hrs 15... it might have been an idea if London and Paris had considered a joint bid.
Michael, Pori, Finland
I agree with Jan in London, either London or Paris should get it to square things up a bit. It's just a pity we Scots never got the backing from our government for our European championship bid that London got for it's Olympic bid.
Moscow would be a good choice. Also because we are moving ever closer to our large European neighbour which will surely one day join the Union. If not Moscow then Paris - they haven't hosted an Olympics since 1924 and as we all know the French have flair and savoir faire and would do a very good job.
Peter Guidi, Amsterdam, Holland
Anywhere but London. There are enough difficulties with getting to London for meetings, moving around and getting hotels without the Olympics. The event might well make lots of money for businesses but some of us have to live and work with the consequences. Give the funds for local facilities across the UK not to elitists. Don't put it on the TV either as there is too much sport on TV - people need to get out and do it not sit on a sofa and watch it. It's also too nationalistic, but then some people feel they need to belong to a tribe.
Ian Pittock, Wokingham
I would love to see the Olympics held in New York. They say it would be right near the UN it would just have a great atmosphere. NY is such a great place.
Theo, Staffordshire, UK
A complete waste of money. It is estimated that the games will cost 3 Billion Pounds, spend the money on the infrastructure of the Country instead.
Peter Walsh, Leeds, UK