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Ryan Lochte banned 14 months after social media blunder

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Ryan Lochte‘s latest blunder came on social media. And it got him suspended 14 months.

The 12-time Olympic medalist was banned until July 2019 for a doping rule violation. One of Lochte’s social media accounts published an image of him receiving an IV infusion of a legal substance that, after a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency investigation with Lochte’s cooperation, was deemed above the legal limit of 100 milliliters on May 24.

A sniffling, well-dressed Lochte held a press conference at the Fort Lauderdale Westin Hotel as a USADA press release announced the news Monday.

“It’s devastating to my family about this because I definitely made myself a better person after Rio, and I was back in training,” said Lochte, who was banned for 10 months following his Rio 2016 gas-station incident. “I was feeling good. I was swimming fast. My son being born. Everything was happening. Everything was perfect, and then this happened. And it’s devastating.

“As soon as you get to a certain point or level, in any kind of sport career, you’re always going to have an eye on you. I think I’ve learned it the hard way. Definitely. Especially since Rio. And now this.”

What Lochte was infused with — a B vitamin complex he said one could buy at CVS or Walgreens — was not illegal. But the amount was, unless the athlete has a therapeutic use exemption (TUE).

Lochte did not have a TUE, did not know of the 100ml limit rule and accepted the suspension.

Lochte said it was a “newer rule,” which is partially right. The prohibited list updated this year to outlaw IV infusions of 100-plus milliliters in 12 hours. But the previous rule in effect since 2012 — 50ml over six hours — would also have caught Lochte. IVs like this have been on the prohibited list in some form since 2005, USADA said.

“It’s a hard sanction because I didn’t take anything illegal, but a rule is a rule,” he said. “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.”

Ryan Lochte
The social media image that got Ryan Lochte suspended. It was captioned, “Athletic recovery with some #ivdrip @revivalivlounge #vitamins”

Lochte will miss the next two major international meets — the Pan Pacific Championships in August and the 2019 World Championships. He was due to compete in the U.S. Championships in Irvine, Calif., this week.

Lochte still plans to go for the 2020 Olympics, when he will turn 36 years old and be older than all but two previous U.S. Olympic swimmers in individual events (Edgar Adams, 1904, and Dara Torres, 2008).

One thing that will change is his social media.

“I’m just going to post on my son and my wife, leave everything else out,” said Lochte, who welcomed son Caiden on June 8, 2017 and married Kayla Rae Reid in January. “Once you put anything on social media, it’s out there for the world.”

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David Boudia adjusts diving event, goal for world championships

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David Boudia earned diving medals at his last three world championships and the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, but that was on the platform. He competes on the global stage on the springboard for the first time at worlds this week.

“I don’t have a lot of high hopes,” Boudia, who is still learning the springboard after switching to it in the last year, said in a phone interview from South Korea, where he begins competition Wednesday (TV schedule here). “But I think my biggest goal is to walk away with an Olympic spot.”

An Olympic spot not necessarily for himself, but for the U.S.

Boudia, a 30-year-old father of three, and any other American will clinch 2020 Olympic quota spots by placing in the top 12 in their respective individual events this week. Those spots, and any others earned at later competitions in the next year, will be filled at trials in June in Indianapolis.

NBC Sports analyst Cynthia Potter believes Boudia, who left the sport to sell homes in 2017 and came back and suffered a concussion off the platform in 2018, can meet his goal of making Friday’s 12-man final in Gwangju.

“He would have to dive well, but not better than he’s been diving,” she said. “His springboard is really well-timed, rhythmic, and he’s for a long time known how to go into the water without making a splash.”

But challenging Rio Olympic gold and silver medalists Cao Yuan of China and Jack Laugher of Great Britain, plus defending world champion Xie Siyi of China would be very tough.

Boudia lacks their degrees of difficulty, for now. He hopes to switch out two of his six dives before his first competition of 2020, though he could insert one of them should he make the world final.

“I need a good six months, so from August to December is when we’re kind of really drilling the fundamentals of learning those new dives and getting them perfected,” he said.

Boudia rallied to beat Rio Olympic springboard diver Michael Hixon for the title in May at nationals, where the top two per event earned world berths. But Boudia competed there with about a month of competition dive practice, about half as long as he would prefer.

“Hix and I are going to have a lot of training to do if we want to be even close to cracking that top five,” at worlds, Boudia said in May, according to TeamUSA.org.

Boudia is the lone U.S. diver to earn an individual world medal in an Olympic diving event since 2009.

The U.S. produced breakthroughs at worlds so far. Sarah Bacon became the first American woman to earn a world title since 2005, taking the non-Olympic 1m springboard event. Murphy Bromberg and Katrina Young bagged bronze in synchronized platform, ending a decade-long medal drought in any synchro event.

But Boudia’s goal must be shared among the whole team — as many top-12 finishes individually and top three in synchro events to gobble up Tokyo 2020 quota spots. The U.S. failed to qualify full teams for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

“Getting in the top 12 in the four individual Olympic events is the big deal right now,” Potter said. “Whether you are on the awards stand or not, that would be icing on the cake for a lot of these divers.”

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Anita Wlodarczyk, one of track and field’s most dominant, sidelined

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Poland hammer thrower Anita Wlodarczyk, the only woman to win the last five combined Olympic and world titles in a track and field event, will not go for a fourth straight world championship this fall.

Wlodarczyk had season-ending, arthroscopic left knee surgery on Monday, according to Polish media citing her coach.

Wlodarczyk, 33, has the top 15 throws on the IAAF’s all-time list, and 27 of the top 29. Her world record of 82.98 meters (scribbled on her leg pre-op) is 11 and a half feet farther the second-best woman in history. She originally took silver at the 2012 Olympics and 2013 Worlds but was upgraded to gold after Russian Tatyana Lysenko was stripped for doping.

Wlodarczyk won a reported 42 straight finals between 2014 and 2017, then suffered three losses in 2018 and two so far this year in three lower-level meets before the operation.

Americans DeAnna Price and Brooke Anderson rank Nos. 1 and 2 in the world this year. A U.S. woman has never finished in the top five of an Olympic or world championships hammer throw, which debuted at worlds in 1999 and the Olympics in 2000.

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