Attempt to block Games construction in Sochi fails

Updated: March 21, 2007, 3:58 PM ET
Associated Press

MOSCOW -- Environmentalists lost a bid Wednesday to block construction of sports facilities in Sochi if the Black Sea resort gets the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Russia's supreme court rejected Greenpeace's contention that Olympic-related projects would cause major ecological harm to the region.

Sochi's infrastructure and sports facilities are less developed than the other two finalists for the games -- Salzburg, Austria, and Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Russia plans to develop the Sochi region whether or not it wins the bid.

Government representatives argued in court that studies showed construction would not pose a threat to the region's environment. The Sochi bid committee says it is has made environmental protection one of the cornerstones of its plans.

Greenpeace lawyer Mikhail Kreindlin said his organization plans to appeal, but added, "Honestly speaking, I don't think we have a big chance of success."

The International Olympic Committee will pick the winning city on July 4.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press