Twelve-time Olympic medallist Ryan Lochte has been handed a 14-month ban for an anti-doping violation.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) issued Lochte’s suspension, which is backdated to May 24, for the “use of a prohibited method”.
The six-time Olympic gold medallist swimmer “fully co-operated” with an investigation launched by USADA after he posted a picture of himself receiving fluids intravenously on social media.
The inquiry found that Lochte had “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).” Such infusions are a violation of anti-doping rules unless they occur in the course of medical treatment, even if the substance itself is not banned.
Lochte’s 14-month ineligibility period began the day the photo was posted, meaning it will expire in July 2019. That timeframe would still allow the 33-year-old to take a shot at his fifth Olympics the following year in Tokyo.
Doing so would be an attempt at reframing a legacy tarnished by his actions during the Rio 2016, which Lochte left in disgrace after admitting he had concocted a story of himself and three US swimming team-mates being robbed at gunpoint. He served a 10-month suspension after that incident.