Published: Tue, July 24, 2018
Culture | By Henry Herrera

Ryan Lochte suspended 14 months for anti-doping violation

Ryan Lochte suspended 14 months for anti-doping violation

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has today announced that swimmer Ryan Lochte has accepted a 14-month drugs ban.

The swimmer has been sanctioned for getting an intravenous infusion, a method that broke anti-doping rules.

"I wasn't taking anything illegal", said Lochte. The suspension comes just two days before the national championships in which he was entered in four events. As NPR's Bill Chappell reported, he was previously suspended for 10 months due to his behavior in Rio during the 2016 Olympics.

The whole situation stems from an ill-advised photo that Lochte posted to social media on May 24.

Lochte said he won't give up on swimming. Officials made clear that Ryan did not used a banned substance, but underwent a banned procedure. He was banned for 10 months after claiming he and three other US swimmers were robbed at gunpoint at those 2016 Games, a tale that quickly unraveled. That same database shows that before Monday, no other USA swimmer in the last 10 years, for any reason including actual positive tests, had been suspended for more than one year by USADA.

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"I've been swimming my whole life and I've been monitored by USADA for my entire competitive career", Lochte said.

USADA said in a statement that Lochte "fully cooperated" with the investigation.

His latest ban runs until July 2019 having been backdated to 24 May, the date he received the prohibited intravenous infusion. "I know it sounds like a harsh penalty for something unintentional and where I didn't put anything prohibitive in my body, but a rule is a rule and I accept that there is a technical violation in that I'll have to [accept the consequences]". He was also apparently targeted by two men wearing T-shirts bearing an anti-Lochte message who rushed the stage while he was competing on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars".

An infamous drunken night out after the conclusion of the swimming competition in Rio landed Lochte and three American teammates in trouble with Brazilian authorities, resulting in worldwide derision for one of the most accomplished swimmers in Olympic history.

"I have goals that I want to accomplish in 2020", Lochte said.

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