MOSCOW — Russian doping whistleblower Yulia Stepanova could race at next week’s European championships as the first exemption from Russia’s doping ban if an imminent IAAF ruling goes her way.

Stepanova was one of the world’s top 800-meter runners before she and her husband Vitaly Stepanov, a drug-testing official, provided evidence to the World Anti-Doping Agency that doping was systematic in Russian track and field, with officials helping to cover it up.

Stepanova, who had provided undercover footage of athletes and officials apparently admitting their use of banned substances, left Russia in 2014, saying she feared for her safety.

While Russia is still banned from Olympic track and field events ahead of the Rio de Janeiro Games because of its doping record, track and field’s governing body is preparing to rule on whether to exempt some Russians from the ban, including Stepanova.

The International Association of Athletics Federations says it will rule on the first set of names “by the end of this week,” opening the door for Stepanova to race at the European championships in Amsterdam next week.

LOOKING FOR a Lolo Jones fix? Don’t look in Rio this year.

The popular and polarizing hurdler took to Instagram on Wednesday to announce she won’t be healthy enough to compete at U.S. Olympic Trials.

Jones had hip surgery in November and isn’t healed enough to compete later this week.

The 33-year-old, who also competed for the U.S. in bobsled at the Sochi Olympics, has irritated many in track circles because of her knack for getting attention that doesn’t measure up to her results.

“I may have not shown you over the course of my career how to win an Olympic gold medal, but I hope my journey has shown you how to get back up when you get knocked down, how to try again when you feel like you’ve already tried so many times,” Jones said.

AUSTRALIAN SALLY Pearson will not defend her Olympic hurdles title in Rio after tearing a tendon in her hamstring – yet another setback in a year beset by injuries.

Pearson, the 100-meter hurdles Olympic gold medalist in London in 2012 and silver medalist at Beijing in 2008, told Australia’s Channel Nine that she was shocked at the extent of the training injury and didn’t have enough time to recover fully.

“I’m disappointed – I’m gutted,” she said. “It’s the biggest sporting event in the world that I’m missing out on.”

ONE OF Brazil’s top security officials says the political turmoil that has brought repeated changes to key government positions will not affect security at the Rio Olympics.

Andrei Rodrigues, responsible for overseeing Brazil’s security at special events, said there will be no impact on the games despite staff turnover triggered by impeachment proceedings against suspended President Dilma Rousseff.

“We are absolutely sure of the quality of the operation we are assembling,” Rodrigues said. “We already did it in the (football) World Cup two years ago, this is no rhetoric. Rio does successful events every year, this will be no different.”