Ryan Lochte is diving into a new competition. The Olympic gold medalist and Rio Public Enemy No. 1 is joining ABC’s hoofer competition show Dancing with the Stars. The deal apparently was in the works before the Olympics — and before he and some Team USA buddies swam into trouble with Brazilian authorities.
Lochte, of course, still is dealing with fallout from the incident in Rio in which he claimed to NBC’s Billy Bush he and three other U.S. swimmers were pulled over by robbers, one of whom put a gun to his head. Lochte later amended some details in a subsequent interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer, saying they’d been stopped at a gas station and the gun wasn’t up against his head, but stuck with the essential point that a man pulled a gun on them and demanded money. Rio cops, however, threw a news conference at which they said their investigation concluded the U.S. swimmers vandalized the gas station bathroom, an exterior poster and peed on some bushes, after which a security guard demanded the althletes pay for the damage before he would let them leave, pulling his gun when Lochte in particular became loud and argumentative. Video from the station does not show the swimmers entering the bathroom, however. Lochte gave yet another interview to Lauer, saying he he had “over-exaggerated” his report, and apologized. The flap cost him at least four endorsement deals.
USA Today, which this week reported it investigated the allegedly vandalized bathroom, concluding Lochte’s story was essentially accurate and that the Rio police had made up aspects of its findings, also first reported the Lochte deal with Dancing.
Lochte will join recently announced pro dancers Lindsay Arnold, Witney Carson, Sharna Burgess, Artem Chigvintsev, Val Chmerkovsky, Sasha Farber, Allison Hoker, Gleb Savchenko and Emma Slater.
Cycle 23 of Dancing with the Stars premieres September 12.