Rain, high security highlight first day in Sochi

The Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi, Russia on January 31, 2014. (Ted Wyman/QMI Agency)

The Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi, Russia on January 31, 2014. (Ted Wyman/QMI Agency)

TED WYMAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:53 PM ET

SOCHI -- The first thing you notice about this Black Sea city that will host the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in just under a week is that winter must actually be a foreign concept.

I arrived in the middle of a driving rain storm with midnight temperatures around 8 C, and it has been raining ever since. This is just the latest of many deluges that have been pounding the coastal cluster in recent days, making it difficult for organizers to put the finishing touches on these $50 billion Games.

All along the route from the hotel to the Main Press Centre Friday, workers were frantically trying to spruce things up, laying down grass seed and planting trees in muddy parks and boulevards. It would be a miracle if anything but quagmires stand there come Feb. 7 when these Games begin.

Palm trees line the roads throughout the region, bringing to mind the image of a resort in Florida or the Mediterranean much more easily than a city hosting events that depend on ice and snow.


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