Published: Tue, July 24, 2018
Life&Culture | By Peggy Hughes

Swimmer Lochte handed 14-month suspension for anti-doping rule violation

Swimmer Lochte handed 14-month suspension for anti-doping rule violation

Six-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Ryan Lochte has been suspended for 14 months for receiving an intravenous infusion of a permitted substance without a therapeutic use exemption, the USA anti-doping agency (USADA) said on Monday.

USADA said in a statement that Lochte was not using a banned substance but that it prohibits such infusions or injections in excess of 100 mL within a 12-hour period unless received in the course of hospital treatment, surgical procedures or clinical diagnostic investigations. While the substance is legal, it is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency without a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).

Lochte, who has been training with hopes of making the US Olympic team in 2020, had been expected to swim at this week's national championships in California. This marks Lochte's second suspension in less than two years following his 10-month suspension for his behavior during the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. He was banned for 10 months after claiming he and three other United States swimmers were robbed at gunpoint at those 2016 Games, a tale that quickly unravelled.

Lochte posted a picture on social media of himself getting an IV in May.

At a press conference in Fort Lauderdale on Monday, Lochte told reporters the infusion was a B vitamin complex.

The agency announced on Monday that Lochte, 33, accepted his suspension for "his use of a prohibited month", Deadspin reports. "I am hopeful other athletes will learn from my mistake and be mindful of this rule, as well as others". "I have never taken a prohibited substance".

Lochte's suspension began on May 24, 2018 and he'll be eligible to return to the water in July 2019.

"Unfortunately, although the rule is a newer rule and is not as widely known as others, I should know better".

Lochte spent much of his career portraying a party-boy image, while his wildly successful exploits in the pool - six Olympic golds, 36 world championship gold medals, no fewer than four world records - were always overshadowed by 28-time Olympic medalist and 23-time Olympic champion Michael Phelps. He won gold medals at the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 games, and if he were to find a way to win another in Tokyo he would become the oldest Olympic swimming champion.

"I'm still going to train every day and I have goals that I want to accomplish in 2020, and if anything this will make me more hungry and I'll definitely be there", he said.

"I'm just going to post on my son and my wife, leave everything else out", Lochte added.

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