Nikolai Durmanov, the head of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) anti-doping commission, questioned the legality of dope testing results, which discovered traces of blood-boosting darbepoietine in Olympic athletes' samples. Triple gold medallist Johann Muhlegg, a German who skis for Spain, Russian Larissa Lazutina, a gold medallist, and teammate Olga Danilova had all tested positive for darbepoietin, a substance similar to the banned blood-boosting drug erythropoietin, or EPO. Muhlegg was ordered to hand back Saturday's 50km gold and Lazutina Sunday's 30km gold just over an hour before the closing ceremony got underway.
However, Durmanov stated that the method of testing was not specified before the start of the Games and thus any decision based on its results should be recognised as illegal.
"The method of testing and discovering darbepoietin in the athletes' samples was not specified before the start of the Games," Durmanov said in his interview with Moscow's NTV channel."If the method was discovered in the recent days it should be thoroughly inspected before any official decisions based on its results could be announced. The Olympics certainly should not be the field for any experiments," he added.He also said the ROC is set to appeal on the International. Olympic Committee's decision to strip Lazutina of the gold medal she won Sunday to the International Sports Court in Lausanne, Switzerland. "I'm ready to bet a bottle of the best cognac that we will return the medal to Lazutina in the near future," Durmanov said.