Ryan Lochte’s image was badly tarnished following the U.S. swim team’s misadventures during the recent Rio Olympics. Now, the 32-year-old athlete is trying to dance his way to redemption.
According to a report from the NY Post, Ryan Lochte has agreed to participate in the upcoming season 23 of Dancing with the Stars.
“The past two weeks have been the lowest point in my life,” he said. But the fans, my family, my friends, they’ve all been really positive, keeping me going.
— Ryan Lochte (@RyanLochte) August 30, 2016
Critics speculate that the Olympic gold medalist is joining the show to divert attention from his involvement in the scandal.
Ryan Lochte is certainly not the first personality/celebrity to think that a stint in the hugely popular Dancing with the Stars would help reverse public perception of them. For example, there’s TV personality Paula Deen whose downfall had been swift when she was sued by a former manager in one of her Savannah restaurants for uttering the “N” word.
Paula admitted to using the racial slur shortly before joining the 21st season of the DWTS.
The show is only too willing to piggyback on the infamy of some celebrities by inviting them to join the dancing competition.
There’s also reality star Kate Gosselin, who couldn’t dance to save her life, but was invited nevertheless because of her notoriety on social media as a cold, calculating woman. Andy Dick is another example of being invited to the show because of his notoriety more than his dancing or comedic skills.
Dancing with the Stars showrunner Rob Wade said that they are hoping Ryan Lochte’s appearance in the competition will help shed his bad boy image in the public’s mind.
“I think at the end of the day, he really wants to dance,” he said.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) August 30, 2016
By now, most Americans already know the story of how Ryan Lochte and three other members of the U.S. swim team were caught lying about what happened outside of a rest room in one of Rio de Janeiro’s neighborhoods near the Olympic village.
In order to hide the fact that they trashed the facility, the swim team lied about being robbed at gunpoint. It was later discovered that Ryan Lochte was drunk at that time when he caused damage to the door of the gas station’s toilet.
Worse, they identified the alleged robbers as actually being members of Rio’s police force.
Later, in a long Instagram post, Ryan Lochte apologized for lying about what happened.
“I want to apologize for my behavior last weekend—for not being more careful and candid in how I described the events of that early morning and for my role in taking the focus away from the many athletes fulfilling their dreams of participating in the Olympics,” he wrote.
But his actions were not without consequences. When he got back home, Ryan Lochte discovered that his endorsements had dried up and he was being dropped by his sponsors. After his apology, Ralph Lauren, Speedo, Gentle Hair Removal, and Airweave all released statements confirming that they were discontinuing their relationship with the American swimmer.
However, Ryan Lochte seems to to be getting offers from new sponsors as he signed a contract to be the official endorser of Robocopp, which was described by CNN Money as a “crime prevention device maker.” The announcement came in the wake of last week’s reveal that he was also asked to be the spokesperson of cough drop company, Pine Bros.
“I’ve been traveling a lot lately. We all like to have fun, but it’s a good idea to stay safe,” he said. “I don’t go anywhere without Robocopp.”
Ryan Lochte promised that the small device “can get you out of a bad situation.”
[Photo by Harry How/Getty Images]