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Ryan Lochte to Join Season 23 of Dancing with the Stars

Ryan Lochte Photo via SI.com

Might America’s disgraced Olympian Ryan Lochte dance his way back into our hearts?

Ryan Lochte’s over-exaggeration about an incident that occurred during his time in Rio for the 2016 Summer Olympics is still headline news as recently it was reported he lost his sponsorships with Speedo and Ralph Lauren as well as two others. It is clear at this point that Lochte’s actions and most importantly the lies he weaved, will continue to impact him throughout his the rest of his life in the public eye and what remains of his career. A hearing from the USOC is still pending to discuss disciplinary actions that may be taken against the swimmer.

However, Lochte might soon find himself in the news again but this time for a different reason as according to USA Today, the 32-year-old swimmer has just inked a deal to become one of the contestants on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, now in its 23rd season.

According to USA Today’s source, the deal to have Lochte appear on the hit show was in place prior to the Olympics. Despite his actions in Rio, the offer was not rescinded. While the announcement has not been confirmed nor made public by ABC, the full reveal of this year’s contestants is planned for August 30th on Good Morning America, as it has been done over the past several years.

Lochte, if the reports are true, will be the 23rd Olympian to ever compete on the show. He would be the first since Nastia Liukin in 2015 during season 20. Lochte’s appearance would also mark the 17th time in the show’s 23 season history that an Olympian was vying for the coveted Mirror Ball trophy. He would hope to join the likes of past winners Meryl Davis (ice dancing), Apolo Ohno (speed skating), Kristi Yamaguchi (ice skating) and Shawn Johnson (gymnastics). If chosen, he would become the first male U.S. swimmer to ever be on the show. Lochte would join Natalie Coughlin, who competed during season 9, as the second overall swimmer.

Publicity wise, given Ryan Lochte new role as a controversial figure in sports, this is sure to garner its fair share for ABC. Their award-winning program, begins its newest season on Sept. 12th.  This would not be Lochte’s first foray into reality television either as he had his own show on E! to chronicle his preparations and his life prior to the London Olympic Games. Titled, What Would Ryan Lochte Do?, the show which lasted a mere five episodes, seemed to establish Lochte’s reputation as being a carefree individual living a frat boy-esque lifestyle with intelligence that left something to be desired.

Aside from various interviews he has since given, including most recently on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, appearing on Dancing with the Stars will be Lochte’s first real launch back into the public eye and the spotlight that accompanies it, since everything that happened in Rio. So soon after the incident it is unsure how people will respond to him and his appearance on the show, however it could be an opportunity for Lochte to start the slow process that will be rebuilding his reputation to what it was prior to this year’s Olympic Games.

Will he be able to dance his way back into our hearts and return to being America’s most lovable idiot as opposed to an international disgrace?

That remains to be seen. But at the very least, it will be fun to watch him try.

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