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Ryan Lochte’s troubled path since a late night out in Rio de Janeiro two years ago took another bizarre twist Monday with the announcement of a 14-month suspension by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
In a release, USADA said Lochte was suspended after basically incriminating himself on social media. The release said on May 24, Lochte posted a picture of himself getting “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 investigated and found that Lochte did not have a TUE and applied the penalty.
Judging from Lochte’s Instagram photo, he received the disqualifying infusion at Revival IV Lounge in Gainesville, Florida. The business’ website advertises 15 items on its “IV Menu,” ranging in price from $65 to $175 and offering treatments ranging from basic hydration to allergy relief to alleviating migraines. It’s unclear which treatment Lochte received.
USADA announced the penalty on the eve of the Phillips 66 U.S. National Championships, which begin Wednesday in Irvine, California. Lochte was expected to be a prime contender for a spot on the U.S. national team that will compete in the Pan Pacific Championships next month and the FINA World Championships next year. Instead, he will not be able to compete for more than a year — his second major sanction since the 2016 Summer Olympics.
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. Teammates Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger were detained by Brazilian authorities. Lochte ultimately was given a 10-month suspension by USA Swimming, and many believed it would be the end of his swimming career.
But he returned in 2017 at the U.S. Open, declaring himself wiser and more responsible after fathering a child. The 33-year-old Lochte moved his training base back to his alma mater, Florida, where he had experienced his greatest success with Gators coach Gregg Troy, and had been swimming well earlier this year.
Lochte was seeded fourth for the 400-meter individual medley, an event where he won the Olympic gold medal in 2012 and bronze in 2008, and was seeded seventh in the 200 IM, an event where he owns the world record. Now, he’s out of the competition.
This marks the second blockbuster suspension heading into U.S. Nationals. Last week, former Texas star Madisyn Cox, who won multiple medals at the 2017 World Championships, was given a two-year ban by FINA for a positive test for Trimetazidine. FINA said it found Cox’s statements of innocence “highly credible” but still implemented the suspension because she could not prove a “likely source” of the banned substance.
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