Los Angeles - Six-time
Olympic gold medallist Ryan Lochte has been suspended for 14 months for an
anti-doping violation after he received an intravenous infusion, the US
Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced on Monday.
While USADA said Lochte was not using a banned substance, athletes
can typically only receive IVs as part of hospital treatment or through
"I wasn't taking anything illegal. Everything was legal. You can get
it at CVS, Walgreens, but there are rules, and you have to obey them," a
"devastated" Lochte told a press conference in South Florida.
The 33-year-old American posted a picture of himself getting the IV
on social media in May which caused USADA to open an investigation, one
that Lochte "fully cooperated" with according to officials.
"Lochte received an intravenous infusion of permitted substances at
an infusion clinic in a volume greater than 100 mL in a 12-hour period
without a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE)," USADA said in a statement,
adding the swimmer had accepted his suspension.
Lochte's ban was backdated to May 24, the date he received the
treatment that he said was taken as a precaution after his wife and son
"I have never taken a prohibited substance and never attempted to
gain any advantage over my competition by putting anything illegal in my
body," he said.
"I would never intentionally violate any anti-doping rule.
Unfortunately, although the rule is a newer one and not as widely known
as others, I should know better."
He will miss the US national championships which begin in California
this week, next month's Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo and the 2019
world championships in South Korea.
However, Lochte has spoken of his plans to compete for a spot on the
team at a fifth straight Olympics in 2020 - he would turn 36 during the
"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.
In 2016, Lochte was banned from swimming for 10 months after he
claimed that he and three other US swimmers were robbed after a night of
revelry during the Rio Games.
Brazilian police later determined, in part based on surveillance video, that Lochte had largely fabricated the story.
He was charged with making a false crime report, but a Rio appeals court eventually threw that case out.