Russia Sees 'Nothing Wrong' In Athletes Inhaling Xenon Gas
A top Russian official said that the use of the gas xenon to improve the performance of athletes "is not banned and there would be 'nothing wrong' if Russian athletes were using it," according to the AFP. Germany’s WDR television this week and other reports this month "claimed that top Russian athletes have been using xenon to improve their performance." Inhaling the gas "encourages the production in the body of the hormone Erythropoietin (EPO), which encourages the formation of red blood cells." Externally injecting EPO "is regarded as flagrant doping." The use of another method to stimulate the natural production of EPO inside the body "is not outlawed and regarded by many experts as a grey area" (AFP, 2/27).
TEST TAKING: The IOC oversaw 2,667 tests during the Sochi Olympics, surpassing the previous record set at the 2010 Vancouver Games by 518 tests. Of the 2,667 tests, 477 were blood tests and 2,190 were urine tests. The program also included more targeted testing. Pre-competition tests numbered 1,421, an increase of about 60% from Vancouver. In total, the IOC set aside more than $1M for pre-competition testing, transport, storage and retesting for the Sochi Games (IOC).