Setting and Participants: Samples were obtained as part of routine International Ski Federation blood testing procedures from participants at the (2001) World Ski Championships. Sixty-eight percent of all skiers and 92% of those finishing in the top 10 places were tested.
Main Outcome Measures: Using flow cytometry, we analyzed erythrocyte and reticulocyte indices. Reference values were from the 1989 Nordic Ski World Championships data set and the International Olympic Committee Erythropoietin 2000 project.
Results: Of the skiers tested and finishing within the top 50 places in the competitions, 17% had highly abnormal hematologic profiles, 19% had abnormal values, and 64% were normal. Fifty percent of medal winners and 33% of those finishing from 4th to 10th place had highly abnormal hematologic profiles. In contrast, only 3% of skiers finishing from 41st to 50th place had highly abnormal values.
The following is a detailed and very informative analysis of the situation in 2002-2007. It's a fantastic read.
This caught my eye when having a look at the FIS Anti-Doping Rules.
FIS.B.4 Start Prohibition
FIS.B.4.1 Haemoglobin concentrations equal to or more than 17 g/dL (men) and 16 g/dL (ladies) An Athlete with a haemoglobin concentration that measures equal to or exceeds 17 g/dL (men) and 16 g/dL (ladies) after the two consecutive measurements, is not allowed to start any competitions for five consecutive days, including the day on which the test took place: e.g. if the blood test takes place on Monday the Athlete will not be permitted to start again until Saturday (and then only subject to the results of a new blood test, see FIS.B.4.7).
FIS.B.4.2 Haemoglobin z-score and OFF z-score ≥3.09
An Athlete with a haemoglobin z-score (Hbcurrent - Hbmean) /
√(σ2 (1+1/n)) or an OFF z-score of ≥3.09 is subject to a start
prohibition of 14 days. A new blood sample is obtained after 14 days
and if the haemoglobin z-score or OFF z-score is ≤3.09 the Athlete is
permitted to start after the conclusion of the 14 day start prohibition.
If the z-scores of ≥2.33 or ≤-2.33 the athlete is treated as suspicious
and follow-up testing will take place accordingly.
FIS.B.4.3 OFF-score model ≥125.6 in males and ≥113.5 in females
The OFF score depicts a previous likely EPO use. OFF score = Hb (g/l)
– 60 * √retic (%). An Athlete with an OFF-score exceeding the above
mentioned values is subject to a start prohibition of 14 days. A new
blood test is obtained after 14 days and if the OFF-score is ≤125.6 or
≤ 113.5 respectively, the Athlete is authorised start after the
conclusion of the 14 day start prohibition.
FIS.B.4.4 Positive Bayesian model
The Bayesian approach is a model that has been developed by WADA
to detect individual variations in blood profiles that are beyond the
normal variation. If the blood values generate a positive Bayesian
model, the Athlete will be issued with a start prohibition for 14 days.
Any idea how the "Bayesian model" works? I understand this is a recent addition. Sounds like you can get a "health" ban for increases in Hb even if you aren't necessarily close to the upper limit.