The Sochi Winter Games start in a week amid fraught circumstances, from concerns about Russia's anti-"gay propaganda" law to concerns about security to concerns about press freedom.

And what better sport to convey the anxiety surrounding Sochi than figure skating? Its popularity may have declined in recent years, but as a vessel for illustrating these games' ability to evoke beauty and unease simultaneously, it remains without peer.

For The Economist, Putin on ice represents "A skater with feet of clay."

The New Yorker, too, puts Putin in the rink.
Abigail Jones' story about "Homophobia and figure skating" is due soon.

Time, on the other hand, uses a skier and barbed-wire rings to illustrate Sochi's "Ring of Steel":