Bhutia conveyed his decision to the Indian Olympic Association on Monday after he was chosen to run with the Olympic torch on the India leg of its journey. Bhutia, a Buddhist, said this was his way to show support and solidarity for the people of Tibet and their struggle. He is not the first public personality to have distanced himself from the Beijing Olympics. Last week, French President Nicolas Sarkozy had indicated France might boycott the games if the situation in Tibet worsened while German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she will not attend the Olympics in Beijing.
In February, Hollywood director Steven Spielberg withdrew as an artistic adviser to the Olympics over China"s support to the Sudanese government at a time when the regime had been charged with massacres in the country"s Darfur region.