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MOSCOW, January (R-Sport) - Russia is conducting two special programs to give home athletes the edge at next year's Sochi Winter Olympics - altitude training and special ski coating, the country's Olympic chief said Monday.
As home athletes, Russians have unlimited access to Sochi slopes ahead of the Games, but Alexander Zhukov wants to leave as little as possible to chance in the quest to top the medal table.
"We have a special program that an experimental team is conducting right now by the name of 'hypoxia,'" he said.
"It's the most favorable training regime at that altitude," Zhukov added.
The start of the Rosa Khutor ski runs where the Alpine skiing events are to be held is at an altitude exceeding 1,500 meters.
Altitude training can boost an athlete's performance by getting the body accustomed to high performance with lower oxygen levels, which increases the red blood cell count and consequently the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.
Another program Zhukov is running concerns the wax coatings of the skis for the downhillers, biathletes and cross-countrymen.
"Matching the sliding surface of skis to the snow that we'll have is another very important point," he said. "A special team will come up with a variety of coating options that can be used on Sochi snow."
Many races, especially the Alpine events, are decided by split-seconds, making the choice of wax a crucial factor.
"Every tiny thing is very important and can affect the result," Zhukov said. "I won't let on about the details."
The Sochi Games start on February 7, 2014.
Russia is looking to lead the medal table with a target of 15 golds, which would be a colossal comeback from its worst-ever performance at Vancouver 2010, the worst Winter Games in Russia's history.
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