United States Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte has been the center of attention ever since he infamously claimed he was robbed at gunpoint in Rio. Police investigators discovered that these claims were less than true. Lochte and fellow teammates were instead recorded vandalizing a gas station bathroom in a drunken stupor. Lochte was suspended from swimming for ten months for “over-exaggerating” what happened that night in Rio. He has since been interviewed numerous times, most notably by Matt Lauer, in which Lochte issued an apology and an explanation.
A month has passed since the Olympics, and Lochte has not strayed from the public eye. On Monday, September 12th, he appeared in his first episode of Dancing with the Stars, a television series in which celebrities compete as couples for the coveted mirror ball trophy. As Judge Carrie Ann Inaba gave her critiques, two men sporting anti-Lochte shirts attacked the stage. The camera stayed focused on Inaba, who yelled “Excuse me, back off…” to the men numerous times.
One of the men went straight for Lochte, who jumped behind dance partner Cheryl Burke. DWTS security removed the men from the stage as the viewers at home were cut to a commercial break. The instigators have been identified as Barzeen Soroudi and Sam Sotoodeh.
“At that moment, I was really heartbroken. My heart just sunk, and it felt like someone just ripped it apart… I gave it my all, and you know, I’m glad that I did it and I’m glad that I’m here,” said Lochte in an interview with CNN that night. In a later Instagram post, he said, “I want to thank my family, girlfriend, friends and fans for being so supportive of me after the incident on Dancing with the Stars Monday night. When I was asked to do the show, the one thing that I kept hearing was that it was like joining a big family. After Monday’s incident, I now know what that means.”
What will come next for the swimmer is unclear. Many are still enraged over the Rio scandal, and others seemed to have accepted his apologies and are now excited to see him progress over the course of Dancing with the Stars.
Rachel Kane, Staff Writer
Junior Rachel Kane is a staff writer for the 2016-2017 Colonel. Aside from playing varsity soccer and tennis, she is also the secretary of Tri-M and dances outside of school.