UNITED STATES—U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte, 33, has been suspended for 14 months for receiving an unsanctioned intravenous infusion. Two months ago, Lochte posted a photo via Instagram that showed him and his wife, Kayla Rae Reid, both taking IV fluids at a infusion clinic in Gainesville, Florida.
The post drew attention from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), who launched an investigation after the post surfaced. According to the USADA, the investigation revealed that 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).” IV infusion intakes in any amount over 100 mL within a 12-hour period are prohibited at all-times, except in special approved circumstances.
Lochte’s 14-month suspension began on May 24, 2018, the day that he received the IV infusion. The USADA noted that Lochte “fully cooperated” in their investigation. They did not find that the athlete injected himself with any banned substances. During a press conference, the Olympic swimmer released the following statement after accepting his suspension.
“What I didn’t know, was even though I wasn’t taking anything that was a banned substance from WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency), you can’t take anything more than 100 mL in an IV and I was not aware of that,” said Lochte.
The swimmer indicated that he chose to get the IV fluids because some of his family members had recently been ill, and he didn’t want to get sick in the midst of training.
“The IV consisted of vitamins including B-12,” Lochte said. “I have never tried to gain any unfair advantage over my competition by putting anything illegal in my body.” According to the Associated Press, “The USADA database shows only two other athletes being sanctioned for using such a method.”
Lochte is a six-time Olympic gold medalist, and a twelve-time overall medalist. He ranks second in Olympic swimming to Michael Phelps. He was previously suspended for 10 months because of behavior during the 2016 Olympics in Rio. He has appeared on “Dancing with the Stars,” “30 Rock” and “90210.” Lochte will miss the upcoming national championships, which he was scheduled to attend beginning on Wednesday, July 25. The swimmer will also miss out on some major international swimming events due to his suspension, which will not end until July 2019.