New Zealand Commonwealth Games gold medalist and two-time Olympian Moss Burmester has slammed the International Olympic Committee for not issuing a total ban on Russian athletes at the Rio Olympics.

The former 200m butterfly swimmer was strong in his criticism of the IOC's decision and believes athletes competing at Rio should refuse to share the podium with any Russian medalists.

"The athletes almost need to take a stand," Burmester told ONE News.

"I think there needs to be a movement that's started, in that every single time a clean athlete is on the dais with a Russian athlete, yes, they'll accept the medal but they need to actually stand on the ground. Step down from the dais and not share the dais with any Russian athlete.

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"To be able to say to the IOC, 'hey, we're not happy with your decision and what you're doing'."

Burmester said the IOC's soft stance sent the wrong message.

"The IOC needs to put their foot down. They need to say this is serious. This is supposed to be the pinnacle competition in the world and that they're taking it seriously.

"By them not putting their foot down it just says that they are a complete sellout."

Burmester won gold at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games and fell narrowly short of claiming bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.