TYR Sport will retain Ryan Lochte as a sponsored athlete in light of his recently-announced 14-month suspension, CEO Matt DiLorenzo announced via ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell Monday.
“We recognize the unfortunate circumstances involving Ryan and fully understand that professional athletes must be diligent in complying with the rules set by the USADA,” DiLorenzo said. “Ryan is an important part of Team TYR, and we will continue to support him and his goal of making Tokyo in 2020.”
Ryan Lochte will keep his swimsuit deal with @TYRSport, brand announces. pic.twitter.com/J2SQjw8qJB
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 23, 2018
The US Anti-Doping Agency announced Monday that Lochte has accepted a 14-month ban for having received intravenous infusions in a volume greater than 100mL in a 12-hour period without a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).
His reputation had already taken a hit back in 2016, when he fabricated a story that led to the infamous “gas station debacle” at the Rio Olympic Games. He was ultimately given a 10-month suspension and dropped by a handful of high profile sponsors, including Speedo. His legal troubles in Brazil are still not fully resolved almost two years later.
TYR signed Lochte in January 2017, and his “Just Let Me Work” campaign launched shortly thereafter. The brand has recently made a push to rival Speedo at the top of the swimwear world, signing Katie Ledecky in early June.
In a press conference today shortly after the suspension announcement, Lochte explained the situation: “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…Don’t worry. I’m not giving up. I’m going to keep going [to Tokyo 2020].”
Lochte posted an instagram photo of he and his wife Kayla Rae Lochte receiving IV infusions at Revival IV Lounge in Gainesville May 24th, leading to his suspension.
“It’s devastating to my family about this because I definitely made myself a better person after Rio, and I was back in training,” Lochte said. “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.”
“I’m just going to post on my son and my wife, leave everything else out,” Lochte added. “Once you put anything on social media, it’s out there for the world.”
Lochte’s 14-month ban is back-dated to the date of the infusion, which means the 33-year-old is ineligible for the Pan Pacific Championships in August, as well as the 2019 World Championships. His road to Tokyo, while not at a dead end, will be a lot more difficult.