MOSCOW, May 28 (RIA Novosti) – Russian athletes did not use xenon gas to increase their performance at the Sochi Winter Olympics in February, the country's Olympic chief Alexander Zhukov said Wednesday.
“We did not use these technologies during the preparations of Russian athletes for Sochi,” Zhukov told reporters. “Studies showed that xenon is not an effective tool for training athletes and in addition, it has been banned,” he said.
The World Anti-Doping Agency earlier this month banned the inhalation of xenon and argon gases. Media reports said Russian athletes had for years used xenon which causes an increase of the hormone erythropoietin (EPO) regulating the body’s production of red blood cells.
More red blood cells increase the blood’s ability to transport oxygen and therefore can boost athletic performance, particularly in endurance sports. Injecting EPO has been banned since the 1990s.
Following the unprecedented disappointment of coming in 11th with just three gold medals four years ago in Vancouver, Russia achieved its best ever result in Sochi, winning 13 gold medals and 33 overall.