Anti-Doping Agency to suspend Ryan Lochte for 14 months

Anti-Doping Agency to suspend Ryan Lochte for 14 months

Anti-Doping Agency to suspend Ryan Lochte for 14 months

Twelve-time Olympic medallist Ryan Lochte says he is "devastated" by his 14-month ban for a doping violation.

The swimmer has been sanctioned for getting an intravenous infusion, a method that broke anti-doping rules.

In a press conference today shortly after the suspension announcement, Lochte explained the situation: "I wasn't taking anything illegal". The suspension comes just two days before the national championships in which he was entered in four events.

The suspension is the second for Lochte since the 2016 Rio Olympics and is retroactive to May 24, the date he received the prohibited intravenous infusion.

Lochte appears to have deleted the post from his social media.

Tiago Lins e Silva, Lochte's Brazil-based lawyer, said he would appeal. Officials made clear that Ryan did not used a banned substance, but underwent a banned procedure. Lochte said that he and three other U.S. Olympic swimmers there were robbed at gunpoint at a gas station, a story that quickly unraveled. That caught the attention of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which launched an investigation. I was swimming fast.

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"I know it sounds like a harsh penalty for something unintentional and where I didn't put anything prohibited in my body, but a rule's a rule and I accept that there was a technical violation and that I'll have to do this consequences", Lochte said.

That is now impossible, though, as he is banned from competition until July 23, 2019, a week and a half before his 35th birthday. "Unfortunately although the rule is a newer one and not as widely known as others I should know better".

"I have goals that I want to accomplish in 2020", Lochte said.

After Rio, Lochte was dropped by at least four major sponsors including Speedo USA and Ralph Lauren, although he has added some endorsement deals since.

Lochte returned to competition a year ago, most notably winning the 200-meter individual medley at the U.S. Open.

However, he still intends to return at Tokyo 2020 in a bid to add to his haul of six Olympic titles. He won Olympic gold in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016, and if he found a way to win another in Tokyo he would be the oldest Olympic swimming champion.

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