“I think that it sends a very clear message if Sweden, which is known for its work on human rights, does this,” he said on the Sveriges Television news program Rapport.
Bodström, a former professional football player who continues his athletic pursuits by playing ice hockey twice a week, sees the recent crackdown on Tibetan monks by Chinese authorities as comparable to actions taken by the regime in Burma last autumn.
As a result, Bodström believes Sweden should boycott all ceremonies associated with the Olympics and restrict participation to athletic events only.
“We go there and take a few gold medals but we don’t need to participate in the entire spectacle which we know is a major propaganda exercise for a regime which executes lots of people and which violates numerous human rights on a daily basis,” he said.
He went on to state that skipping the Opening Ceremonies would deprive China of the public relations success which Hitler achieved for Nazi Germany during the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.
“It doesn’t hurt any individual athlete who has trained for this their whole life [to skip the ceremonies], but athletics and politics belong to one another,” he said.