SOCHI - The official opening ceremony likely dazzled millions watching around the world, but it surely will be remembered for the snowflakes that failed to fall.
The ceremony, which will be aired via tape delay this evening in the U.S., ended with fireworks that lit the sky over the event. Scores of viewers stood on decks of the ships docked at the Sochi ports that were brought in to increase housing capacity during the 17-day extravaganza. The snowflakes that failed to complete the image of the five Olympic rings displayed in white drew almost immediate comment on social media. One Twitter wag noted the irony of snowflakes that would not come out, a sly reference to Russian leader Vladimir Putin's views on gays.
Putin promised uncompromising security for these games in the wake of terrorist threats and in my walk around some of the Olympic area this evening I was struck by how much territory is blocked by fence and hundreds of security personnel. I've seen wide-ranging estimates of how many security personnel have been brought into this coastal resort community, from 37,000 to 100,000. However, one of the concerns is that the security personnel are drawn from around the country, leaving many areas far from Sochi more vulnerable to attack.