Out of the pool! Ryan Lochte — a 12-time Olympic medalist who last brought home gold in Rio — has been suspended for violating anti-doping rules by getting a banned IV!
Ryan Lochte, 33, won’t be seen swimming for USA for a year. The Olympian was suspended from competition until July 2019, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced on July 23, according to ESPN. USADA slapped Ryan with a 14-month ban for getting an intravenous infusion in May 2018. Officials made clear that Ryan did not used a banned substance, but underwent a banned procedure. Under the agency’s guidelines, athletes cannot receive IVs unless they’re hospitalized (or if they get a USADA-approved exception.)
Ryan wasn’t hospitalized nor did he have an exception when he posted a picture of him getting an IV to his social media accounts in May. The photo caught the attention of officials, who launched an investigation. Ryan “fully cooperated” with the agency, who ultimately handed him the 14-month suspension (retroactive to the May 2018 date.) Cue DJ Khaled to say, “Congratulations, you played yourself.”
“I have never taken a prohibitive substance,” Ryan, who planned a news conference in South Florida, said in light of the suspension. “I have never attempted to gain any advantage by putting anything illegal in my body. I would never do that; this is very serious to me. … Unfortunately, while the rule is a newer rule and is not widely known as others, I should know better.”
“This is devastating for my family and me, and I was finally back in top shape,” Lochte said. “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].”Only two other athletes have been suspended for getting unapproved IVs, according to the USADA database (per ESPN.) One got a six-month ban, while the other was suspended for 14-months.
Ryan Lochte could be in big trouble. IV ‘recovery’. pic.twitter.com/0Zm32lh5my
— Fuck the Hypocrisy (@Digger_forum) May 25, 2018
Ryan will now miss the 2018 national championships, set to start this week in California. He’ll also be ineligible for the Pan Pacific Championships, later this year, and next year’s world championships. This also adds another black eye to his reputation, as it’s the second suspension following his gold-medal run in Rio 2016. Ryan claimed he and three other U.S. Olympic swimmers were robbed at gunpoint while in a Rio gas station, but security footage showed the three swimmers going on a drunken rampage in which they vandalized the gas station’s bathroom. He was suspended 10-months for the false claim, lost sponsors and forfeited $100,000 in medal bonus money.
Despite this suspension, Ryan has vowed to swim again. “I may be on the sideline from competition, but I’ll continue to train every day,” he said. “I want nothing more than to earn the privilege to swim for my country in my fifth Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.”