Athletes are required to provide objective documentation of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) to use beta2-agonists during Olympic competition. A positive response to bronchial provocation by eucapnic voluntary hyperventilation (EVH) is considered acceptable confirmation of EIB. Thirty times forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) is recommended as EVH target ventilation (TV), an intensity intended to estimate 85% of maximal voluntary ventilation (MVV). There is a paucity of data examining the accuracy of predicting MVV from FEV1 in elite athletes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of 30 x FEV1 as standardized EVH TV. Maximal minute ventilation during exercise (VEmax) and pulmonary function of 78 elite winter athletes (25 males, 53 females; 25 EIB positive, 53 normal) were analyzed retrospectively. Adequacy and variability of the equation was ascertained by examining the ratio of EVH TV (30 x FEV1) to VEmax. VEmax was 99+/-11% of predicted MVV (35 x FEV1) and was positively related (r=0.85, p < or = 0.05). TV was 88+/-9% of VEmax (range: 64-109). For elite athletes, the high variability in 30 x FEV1 to standardize TV for EVH may result in under-diagnosis for low-end outliers. Since VEmax of elite endurance athletes is typically known (via maximal aerobic testing) we recommend 85% VEmax as a more accurate and reliable method to establish EVH TV for this group; if VEmax is not available, then 85% of measured MVV may be used.