Retired New Zealand Olympic swimmer Moss Burmester is asking athletes at the Rio games to protest the International Olympics Committee decision to not completely ban Russia.

The 2006 Bay of Plenty Times person of the year said the IOC decision was an "absolute joke" and "spineless cop-out".

"We know who the cheats are in our sport, but due to heavy repercussions from governing bodies and the likely wrath incurred, most are too frightened to speak out," he said.

He thought if clean current and retired athletes, as well as the public, banded together the message would get through.

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"I propose that we show the IOC that they are making a mockery of something we commit our lives to achieving by choosing to #StandDown from the dais [platform] to receive medals to say 'I'm clean and want to compete against clean athletes, but I don't believe I am'."

"Something has to be done to say we are not okay with it being swept under the carpet."

"Nothing will make them listen more than a demand from the athletes and sports fans themselves to uphold the integrity and core principles of the Olympic Games."

Burmester represented New Zealand at the Athens and Beijing Olympics.

New Zealand head wrestling coach Mark Grayling, who leaves Tauranga for Rio this week, said he did not agree with Burmester.

''I actually think the Olympic Committee got it right,'' Grayling said.

''I've seen the process that the UWW (United World Wrestling), the wrestling international federation has done. I'm quite comfortable with it.

''I've always suspected the Russian wrestlers to be on drugs but the scrutiny they are under at the moment ... I'm quite happy with the process,'' Grayling said.