Beijing - The idea of the blood-soaked hands of the Chinese ruling class somehow befouling the principles of the Olympic movement is as silly as the barely clad dance pack girls who run out onto the basketball courts while athletes grab water for relief from Beijing's sweltering heat.
The modern Olympics were invented by European nobles at the turn of the 19th century as an amusement for themselves - a break from counting their money and complaining about the help.
This one-time celebration of "amateurism" (because, let's face it, they didn't need to make their money playing games), has been oozing corruption, racism, contempt and so much more since the day it was dreamed up.
Yet despite everything that is so wrong with the Olympics, something pure and beautiful sustains, despite the hidden and not so hidden agendas of the big players who drive this feeding frenzy of high finance and propaganda.
Speaking to a handful of dinner companions on a restaurant rooftop just steps away from the Beijing bell tower where a crazed man from Hangzhou will kill the father-in-law of an American volleyball coach a few days later, Olympic gold medal winner Catriona Lemay Doan reminds us of the passion that has fuelled her.
She describes the truly Olympian task of getting good enough to chance winning in arenas and on playing fields financed by governments and sponsors not nearly as generous with their cash as with their rhetoric about "Olympic ideals."
Olympics aren't remotely clean (top of page), but the hosts are irresistible.
Now, there's a phrase that must make the cynical minds behind the International Olympic Committee chortle every time its uttered.
But whatever mercenary, world-wooing desires have driven the Chinese government to host these Games, the fresh-faced smiles of the thousands of blue-shirt-wearing Beijing volunteers as well as the earnest, ad hoc efforts of regular folk on every street corner are impossible to wrap in the black flag of cynicism.
Such are the contradictions of these and all Olympic Games, where the major sponsors are manufacturers of food and drink so foul they would literally destroy the bodies of all who regularly consume them (I'm talking Coca-Cola and McDonald's), the only food available at any Olympic venue in this land of excellent eating.
The IOC takes its corporate sponsorships so seriously, the "American Standard" logos on the toilets and urinals throughout the Olympic sites are covered with tape so the company can't get a free ride and undermine any official sponsor.
Is China the worst country to get to host the Games? Debatable, especially if you count, among others, Nazi Germany in 1936 and the Mexican government of 1968 that murdered hundreds of anti-Games student protesters just weeks before that year's event.
The "free world" boycotted Moscow's 1980 Olympics because of that country's invasion of Afghanistan, yet today Canada, the U.S. and a host of allies now turn their guns and missiles on the people of that country without a murmur about excluding us from playing here with the rest of the world.
The Olympics aren't remotely clean, from doped-up athletes to the dopes who run them, and I couldn't be happier that the Games aren't happening in Toronto. Olympic agendas are a terrible way to conduct urban renewal.
But most Beijingers will tell you their city has never looked better or run more smoothly than it does during these Games, despite all the Western press's efforts to convince us otherwise. Yes, the sky is often cloudy and hazy, but I'm not coughing up horrible things or blowing black snot out of my nose, as sometimes is the case in London or New York.
And the security I have to go through to gain access to the subway or Olympic venues is no worse than what I encountered just three weeks ago in Manhattan taking my kid to the top of Rockefeller Center.
Beijingers are hoping they'll be able to show the world they're no longer an international doormat, dominated and then dismissed by the West for hundreds of years. This may be as ill-advised as buying a big, gas-guzzling car to show that you've arrived, but an honest person would at least understand the thinking.
The Olympics are China's equivalent of Canada's 1967 centennial-year Expo fest, and like that celebration, it has been an excuse for the creation of amazing architecture. As at Expo, tumbleweed and bitter winds will likely be blowing through the empty expanses of these sites once the Games are over.
The magnificent "bird's nest" stadium and "bubble" swim centre on the Olympic Green in the outer reaches of town, as well as other Games sites, seem impossible venues to reasonably sustain after the world says, "So long."
But these spectacular buildings remind me of a time when Canada actually built public institutions - subways, theatres, bridges, swimming pools and more. China is in the midst of a building boom of which the Olympics are only a small part.
Travelling around the country, I'm amazed at the infrastructure, fantastic highways and gleaming municipal buildings being constructed thousands of kilometres from the Olympics glare.
I feel ashamed of the lack of imagination that shrouds our country like the haze that envelops this one, where we close swimming pools while children in other nations excel in newly built facilities.
I'm saddened to live in a place where our politicians and the businesspeople who fund them would rather accumulate national and provincial surpluses than spend money to improve lives.
Unlike the failed Soviet Union before it, China's current dictatorship is managing to create a discernibly more prosperous way of life for millions of its people, who will surely demand more now that they've developed a taste for it.
And by inviting the world to mingle with these same citizens, China's rulers may have opened themselves up for more than they intended.
For the handfuls of flag-waving Tibetan protesters they will continue to drag out of Tiananmen Square in the days and weeks ahead, thousands more will simply engage in frank conversations with foreigners like me about these same issues and many more - and there aren't enough secret police in the country to patrol all of these invigorating, challenging discussions.
The bloated and beautiful Olympic Games has the potential to reinvent not just their world but, hopefully, ours, too.