Swimmer Ryan Lochte, a 12-time Olympic medalist, received a 14-month suspension from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after posting an incriminating photo to Instagram.
In the picture shared on May 24, 2018, Lochte is shown receiving an intravenous infusion. Though the substance itself was legal, the volume was greater than the 100 milliliters, which is the amount permitted within a 12-hour period.
The photo has since been removed from his Instagram account, but a cached version is included here. Lochte’s caption for the photo included the words “Athletic recovery with some #ivdrip.”
Lochte cooperated with the investigation, USADA said. At a news conference he called on Monday, Lochte said the fluid was a B vitamin complex.
“It’s a hard sanction because I didn’t take anything illegal, but a rule is a rule,” Lochte said at the news conference. “I wasn’t too clear on the rules, but now I am. And I know there’s other athletes that don’t know this rule. I want to help them and make sure that other athletes don’t make the same mistake I did.”
The World Anti-Doping Agency’s 2018 code revision released on Jan. 1 determined that prohibited methods carry the same consequences as prohibited substances. IV infusions of greater than 100 ml are only permitted for athletes who have a Therapeutic Use Exemption or when those IVs are “legitimately received in the course of hospital treatments, surgical procedures or clinical diagnostic investigations,” according to WADA’s code.
Lochte also incurred a 10-month ban from USA Swimming after the 2016 Rio Olympics for lying about a made-up armed robbery. He said Monday that he would change his social media practices.
“I’m just going to post on my son and my wife, leave everything else out,” Lochte said. “Once you put anything on social media, it’s out there for the world.”