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Olympics: Russia sees 'nothing wrong' in athletes inhaling xenon

Published on Feb 26, 2014 7:51 PM

MOSCOW (AFP) - 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, a top Russian medical official said on Wednesday.

Germany's WDR television this week and other reports this month claimed that top Russian athletes have been using xenon to improve their performance at Olympic Games from Athens 2004 right up to the just completed Sochi 2014 Winter Games.

Inhaling the gas encourages the production in the body of the hormone Erythropoietin (EPO), which encourages the formation of red blood cells in the body to improve performance.

Externally injecting EPO is regarded as flagrant doping and its illegal use became notorious in particular among cyclists in the Tour de France.

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