Right before one of the biggest meets of the year, U.S. National Championships, Ryan Lochte was suspended from swimming. Back in May, 2018, Lochte posted a picture of himself receiving and intravenous or IV injection, which he has since deleted. In the picture, he and his wife, Kayla Rae Reid, were both receiving an IV drip of a Vitamin B complex.
What he was receiving was not the problem. The Vitamin B complex is completely legal according to USADA rules. The violation was a result of how much he was getting and in the period of time in which it took place.
According to USADA, United States Anti-Doping Agency, Lochte was receiving over 100 mL in a 12-hour period without a Therapeutic Use Exemption or TUE. A TUE includes cases where an athlete must receive a greater amount of a substance in a shorter time frame during hospital treatments, surgical procedures, or clinical diagnostic investigations under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing. If an athlete receives any substance via IV or injection, a TUE is necessary for it to be legal; Lochte did not have a TUE.
After he posted the picture on his Instagram on May 24, the USADA took notice and started their investigation. After almost two months, they officially announced Ryan Lochte’s 14-month long suspension on Monday, July 23, 2018.
After the incident at the Rio Games 2 years ago, sponsors Speedo and Ralph Lauren decided to discontinue their sponsorship of Lochte. TYR has spoken out, saying that they will retain Lochte in light of this most recent suspension.
Lochte spoke in a press conference about the incident claiming he was unaware of the rule and hopes his fellow athletes can learn from his mistakes. He also said “I’m just going to post on my son and my wife, leave everything else out, once you put anything on social media, it’s out there for the world.”
Unfortunately for Lochte, he can no longer participate in the U.S. Nationals, currently underway in Irvine, California. The results of this meet will determine the United States roster for the 2018 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Tokyo and the 2019 World Championships in South Korea.
This 14-month suspension may put a damper in his hopes to swim in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, but only time will tell.
Written by Cathleen Rabideau