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Kremlin: Russia Will Not Boycott Rio Olympics

Russia will not boycott the upcoming Olympic Games in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday, Russian media reported.

Peskov said that “Russia has always looked down on [Olympic] boycotts,” the Gazeta news website reported Monday. He promised to use “all possible mechanisms” to ensure the participation of Russian track and field athletes at the upcoming Olympics.

Peskov said there was little time left until the judicial decisions, and that Russian athletes and those who defend their interests will use all tools at their disposal to ensure their participation in Rio, Russian media reported.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has, so far, exempt two Russian athletes from its blanket ban on the Russian track and field team. There are reportedly 136 Russian track and field athletes seeking “exceptional eligibility.”

The two are long jumper Daria Klishina and Yulia Stepanova, a runner and one of the first whistleblowers to report on doping in Russia.

The International Olympic Committee must still approve the two athletes for competition.

The IAAF suspended Russia’s track and field athletes in November 2015, after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accused Russian athletics of concealing a state-sponsored doping program.

The Kremlin has denied these accusations and the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) has appealed the ban. The Court of Arbitration for Sport is set to rule on the Russian appeal by July 21.

The Soviet Union boycotted the 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles, California, following the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Moscow games in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

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