Russia's ban won't hurt Olympics
Country's track ban will encourage clean athletes to go for medals, says US runner Kastor
They finished behind only the United States in the London 2012 Olympic athletics competition with seven golds, four silvers and five bronzes.
But Russia's absence in track and field events at the Rio Games in August will not hurt the competitiveness of the sport, American runner Deena Kastor believes.
Instead, the 43-year-old, who took the women's marathon bronze in 2004, says the move will encourage the clean athletes in their medal pursuit.
"The Olympics brings great performers from a variety of countries and I think we are still going to see some fantastic results," said Kastor, who competed in the Asics Beat the Sun challenge in Chamonix, France, earlier this week.
"The clean athletes are going to know that they have a shot at medalling, whereas before, they took the backseat because they felt that they were competing against superhumans.
"I think for clean athletes going into this Olympics should be very exciting. And they should go into it with the belief that they have a chance to stand on the podium."
The International Association of Athletics Federations banned Russia last November over the country's systematic doping of athletes, and the world organisation's ban was backed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) earlier this week.
The IOC said on Thursday that clean Russian and Kenyan athletes who want to compete in Rio may be allowed to do so, but must prove that they are innocent of doping.
Both Kastor and her fellow American Ryan Hall believe that the ban may be an important first step towards cleaning up a sport that has been plagued with doping claims.
"We have to take whatever steps we can towards cleaning up our sport and I just see this as one of those steps," said Hall, 33, who represented the US in the men's marathon at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
"I feel bad about the clean athletes (in Russia) because I am sure there are; it's a shame that they don't have this opportunity (to compete) but, at the same time, there's some really bad stuff going on there that had to be dealt with."
"Sometimes you just have to stand behind the decisions that people in power make and trust that they're in the best interests of the sport," added Hall, who also competed in the Beat the Sun challenge earlier this week.
But Kastor is unsure if the ban will eventually lead to a cleaner international track and field scene though.
She said: "It really depends on the athlete's motivation - if their motivation is fame and fortune, they might follow a path to cheating to get there.
"If their motivation is self-improvement and seeing how they can get the best out of themselves through proper preparation, I think we are going to see the sporting world on a cleaner stage."