We've heard it before: It's not the first time security issues have dominated the buildup to the Olympics. Britain parked missile batteries on apartment block roofs and a warship on the River Thames before the 2012 Games. The Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002 were held amid heightened security only months after the 9/11 terror attacks in the United States. And in 1996, the Summer Games in Atlanta were subject to a terror attack.
When Russia bid to host its first Winter Olympics in 2007, a document quoted an expected cost of around $12 billion. That figure has ballooned to around $50 billion. That's more than four times over budget and surpasses the cost of Beijing's 2008 Summer Games -- making it the most expensive Olympics ever, summer or winter.
Russia had less than seven years to transform what was a fairly low-key seaside resort town into a Winter Olympics venue. The project required staggering feats of engineering in building a new freeway and rail link up a mountain, and a ski resort on the top. And yet questions about Sochi's readiness have dogged the final run-up to the games.
Not quite there: While the sports facilities were completed in good time, journalists and others arrived in Sochi this week to find that some of the 40,000 new hotel rooms were far from ready and that construction workers were still hard at work on parts of the Olympic Park.
Thanks to pictures of chaotic scenes posted on Twitter, Russia's pride has not been spared.
But CNN's Ben Wyatt in Sochi reports that the picture is not all bad. His hotel has been "superb," and staff and Games volunteers are clearly making an effort to be helpful and speak English, he said.
While some media hotels and landscaping projects have not been completed on time, the sporting venues all look to be in very good condition, he said.
Every Olympics has protests. But thanks to social media, Russia is facing a global backlash.
What got many people riled was Russian lawmakers' passage last summer of legislation known as the anti-gay propaganda bill. The law makes it illegal to tell children about gay equality.
Open letter: More than 200 writers from around the world signed an open letter published Thursday in the UK newspaper The Guardian, calling for a repeal of laws that have placed a "chokehold" on the right to free expression in Russia.
"As writers and artists, we cannot stand quietly by as we watch our fellow writers and journalists pressed into silence or risking prosecution and often drastic punishment for the mere act of communicating their thoughts," the letter said.
Designated site: There is a designated protest site in Sochi. But there's been criticism of organizers' decision to tuck it away in a hard-to-reach village 7 miles (11 kilometers) from the main Olympic Park.
More protests may be yet to come -- perhaps even by athletes -- despite an Olympic Charter rule that bans demonstrations in any Olympic sites and other areas.