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Ryan Lochte suspended for a year after swimmer uses banned IV drip

Ryan Lochte

Six-time Olympic gold medallist Ryan Lochte has been suspended 14 months for an anti-doping violation after he received an intravenous infusion, the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced on Monday (Jul 23).

U.S. officials further clarified that Lochte, who has brought home 12 medals from the past four Olympics including six golds, was not using a banned substance, but that doping rules prohibit athletes from receiving IV infusions or injections unless "legitimately received in the course of hospital treatment, surgical procedures, or clinical diagnostic investigations".

US officials say Lochte was not using a banned substance, but under anti-doping rules athletes typically can not receive IVs unless related to a hospitalisation or through an exemption.

Lochte will miss several top competitions including the national championships that start this week in California, the Pan Pacific Championships later this year, and next year's world championships.

The American had claimed that he and team-mates Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger had been held up and robbed by men posing as police while celebrating in Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 Olympic Games.

Lochte posted a photo of himself getting the IV in May and that image prompted the investigation. He said the IV contained B-12 and other vitamins that could be purchased at any pharmacy.

USA officials say Lochte was not using a banned substance.

"It's a hard sanction because I didn't take anything illegal, but a rule is a rule", he said. He served a 10-month suspension after that incident. "I am hopeful other athletes learn from my mistake".

Lochte's suspension began on May 24, 2018 and he'll be eligible to return to the water in July 2019. He reiterated Monday that he wants to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, though those hopes would seem to be in at least some doubt now. "I know it sounds like a harsh penalty for something unintentional and where I didn't put anything prohibitive in my body, but a rule is a rule and I accept that there is a technical violation in that I'll have to [accept the consequences]". My son being born.

Lochte said he still intends to continue training to win in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but he plans to change his social media habits. "If anything this is going to add more fuel to my fire".