On May 24th, 2018, Ryan Lochte posted a photo of himself, on Instagram, having a post-practice Intravenous (IV) session with the caption “athletic recovery with some #ivdrip.” What seemed like a simple Instagram post turned into a full-blown investigation and violation of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) policy on IV infusions and injections. This violation resulted in a 14-month sanction on Lochte, meaning he is not able to compete at of the major meets, such as the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships (United States), the Pan Pacific Championships (Tokyo, Japan), and the 2019 World Championships (South Korea).
As an athlete, this is not Lochte’s first run-in with the authorities. During the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, there was an altercation between some locals at a gas station and a group of three Olympic swimmers; Lochte being one of those swimmers. Lochte took the most severe punishment of the group and was sent back to the States.
Because of the sanction, Lochte was said to have become a better person. He focused on his relationship with his wife, the birth of his first son, and improving his overall training. He soon introduced new components to his training, which included varying forms of physical activity, dietary habits, and IV infusions with vitamin supplements. Lochte decided to take to social media, effectively advertising these new IV infusions. This resulted in the violation of a very new doping regulation.
As a renowned swimmer, one must ask why he had not paid more attention to what was going into his body, amounts included. An athlete of his caliber should be vigilant in abiding by the rules, especially after what happened in Rio. It should not only be left up to his coaching staff, he too should be familiar with regulations regarding supplements in his sport.
Lochte has been a professional swimmer for many years and has been subjected to many drug tests. He should have known this was not the smartest decision and if revealed would most likely result in some form of punishment.
However, this incident provides a positive learning experience for the swimming community. It shows that swimmers, and athletes of every sport, should be vigilant in monitoring what is going into their bodies. Along with the teaching aspects to the athletes, this also sets precedent for how future doping cases similar to this should be handled, with a firm grip. Finally, it shows to the athletes, and the world, that the United States will not tolerate USADA violations. Instead, they will hand down harsh punishments.
Written by Davis Shelton