Wed, Jul 25, 2018 - Page 16 News List

US’ Ryan Lochte receives 14-month doping suspension

AFP, LOS ANGELES

Six-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte has been suspended 14 months for an anti-doping violation after he received an intravenous infusion, the US Anti-Doping Agency announced on Monday.

While the agency said Lochte was not using a banned substance, athletes can typically only receive such therapy as part of hospital treatment or through an exemption.

“I wasn’t taking anything illegal. Everything was legal. You can get it at CVS, Walgreens, but there are rules, and you have to obey them,” a “devastated” Lochte told a news conference in South Florida.

The 33-year-old American posted a picture of himself receiving the infusion on social media in May, causing the agency to open an investigation, with which Lochte “fully cooperated,” officials said.

“Lochte received an intravenous infusion of permitted substances at an infusion clinic in a volume greater than 100 [milliliters] in a 12-hour period without a therapeutic use exemption,” the agency said in a statement, adding that the swimmer had accepted his suspension.

Lochte’s ban was backdated to May 24, the date he received the treatment, which he said was taken as a precaution after his wife and son fell sick.

“I have never taken a prohibited substance and never attempted to gain any advantage over my competition by putting anything illegal in my body,” Lochte said. “I would never intentionally violate any anti-doping rule.”

“Unfortunately, although the rule is a newer one and not as widely known as others, I should know better,” he added.

He is to miss the US national championships, which begin in California this week, next month’s Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo and next year’s world championships in South Korea.

However, Lochte has spoken of his plans to compete for a spot on the US team at a fifth straight Olympics in 2020 — he would turn 36 during the Tokyo Games.

“I’m still going to train every day and I have goals that I want to accomplish in 2020, and if anything this will make me more hungry and I’ll definitely be there,” Lochte said.

In 2016, Lochte was banned from swimming for 10 months after he claimed that he and three other US swimmers were robbed after a night of revelry during the Rio Games.

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