American 12-time Olympic gold medallist Ryan Lochte has signed up to take part in Dancing with the Stars on American TV. The 32-year-old swimmer is set to put his dancing shoes on for the US answer to Strictly Come Dancing to redeem his reputation following the recent Rio robbery drama.
"Doing DWTS will be great for Ryan's image," an insider told US Weekly. "He will be able to show America that he's a good guy who made a mistake. He's still an Olympic champion! He will be great on the show."
The swimming champ generated international controversy when he falsely claimed that he and three other American swimmers had been pulled over and mugged by armed robbers with police badges on in Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Lochte stated in a subsequent interview that he had been drunk and that he "over-exaggerated that story" after surveillance video footage emerged and contradicted the swimmers' series of events. Lochte was later accused of vandalism and public urination at the fuel station.
He will join the likes of glamour model Amber Rose, Bachelorette star JoJo Fletcher and The Fosters actor Jake T Austin – who are all said to be participating in the 23rd series of the dancing show – due to premiere on 12 September. The confirmed line-up will be unveiled on Good Morning America on 30 August.
The show's regular professional dancers will also be making a return – including Witney Carson, Arten Chigvintsev and Val Chmerkovkiy, with the latter claiming: It's going to be amazing. We're going to have an incredible cast, as always," Val revealed on Good Morning America this week.
"But I'm also excited for the pros. We have a lot of different pros coming back. Some pros from back, back in the day, so I'm excited."
Unbeknown to many, this will not be Lochte's first appearance on a reality show. What Would Ryan Lochte Do? – a show all about his life – began airing in April 2013 on the E! network, but was cancelled after just one season. His character has inspired a series of unflattering memes since the show.
The swimmer also appeared as an exaggerated version of himself in the 30 Rock episode Stride of Pride, which showcased in October 2012, and he also made a cameo on 90210 later that year.
Before the London 2012 Olympics, Fortune magazine estimated that Lochte earned up to $2.3m (£1.7m) from endorsement deals from the likes of Nissan, Ralph Lauren, Gilette and others.
Since the mugging scandal, Lochte has been dropped by three major sponsors – with Speedo the first to announce on Twitter that it would be axing its sponsorship – shortly followed by Ralph Lauren and skincare line Syneron Candela.
Lochte's Twitter statement:
- Usain Bolt's 'triple triple' and Ryan Lochte saga: IBTimes UK writers' most memorable Rio moments
- Ryan Lochte dropped by multiple sponsors after Rio 2016 'robbery' saga
- Usain Bolt, rugby sevens and Ryan Lochte: The high and lows of Rio 2016
- Ryan Lochte joins Amber Rose on Dancing with the Stars to show 'he's a good guy that made a mistake'