American swimmer Ryan Lochte has been banned from competitive swimming again. This time, it was because of an Instagram photo he posted back in May. The photo shows Lochte getting an intravenous injection, which is prohibited under United States Anti-Doping Agency rules. The post has since been deleted from Lochte’s account, but screen shots have been shared online.
Lochte Clearly Was Not Aware That Receiving an IV Drip of Vitamins Was Prohibited
In the post, Lochte included the caption, “Athletic recovery with some #ivdrip.” He apparently was unaware that this was not allowed. The USADA only permits athletes to receive intravenous injections if it is required during hospitalization, or if the athlete is granted a therapeutic use exemption from the USADA.
The USADA shared a statement on Twitter explaining the situation. The organization says Lochte cooperated fully with the investigation after officials spotted the Instagram photo on May 24, 2018. The USADA says 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.”
The statement goes on to explain, “Administration of IV infusions over the WADA volume limit, including dietary supplement and vitamin cocktails, provided to athletes for recuperation, recovery or lifestyle reasons is prohibited at all times without prior TUE approval… In an effort to aid athletes, as well as support team members such as parents and coaches, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on its website on the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs.”
Lochte Will Miss Several Key Swimming Events After Receiving a 14-Month Ban
Lochte, whose net worth is estimated at $6 million, is ineligible from competition until July 2019. The 14-month ban was retroactively applied to May 24th, the day he received the injection of vitamins.
The 12-time Olympic medalist is missing the national championships, which get underway this week. Lochte will also now miss the 2019 World Championships in South Korea. In his career, Lochte has 39 first-place finishes at World’s and 15 runner-up finishes.
Being away from competition for so long may also hurt Lochte’s chances of qualifying for the 2020 Olympics Games in Tokyo. He posted a photo on social media on July 12th indicating his excitement for the next Olympics, saying he had his “eye on the prize.”
The National Championships Were Supposed to Mark Lochte’s Big Comeback
Missing out on the National Championships in California is a major blow to Lochte’s career because he was just coming off another suspension. After winning a gold medal in the 4×200 meter freestyle relay at the Rio Games in 2016, a controversy out of the pool got Lochte banned for 10 months. He and teammates Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger claimed they had been robbed at gunpoint at a gas staton by men with police badges while in Brazil.
Their story quickly turned out to be a fabrication. In addition to the swimming ban, Lochte was changed for falsely reporting a crime. He also had to forfeit $100,000 in bonus money for winning a medal, had to sit out the 2017 National and World Championships, and was dropped by at least four sponsors including Speedo.