There is no separating the Olympic Games from politics, no separating the glorious athletic competition that will take place this summer in Beijing from what's happening in Tibet right now.
As much as some might like to pretend, as much as they'd prefer to fall back on fuzzy 19th-century ideals, the Games and the here-and-now are inextricably linked.
The Olympics don't take place in a world of forms, in a world apart. National flags are flown, anthems are played, medals are tallied by country, so the propaganda opportunities are legion. Governments pump money into Olympic sports in large part to bask in feel-good, patriotic moments.
(Including us. In Canada, the push is called Own The Podium, a federal initiative designed to make us winners in Vancouver/Whistler in 2010.)
Elected and unelected leaders also invest massive amounts and compete tooth and nail for the privilege of staging the great spectacle, knowing its value as image enhancer. Every modern Games has been used to showcase a country — a political and/or economic system — and by extension to sprinkle a bit of glory on those in power.
So politics provides much of the fuel for the Olympic engine. Under the current setup, with the massive amounts of public money required, you can't have it any other way.