Ryan Lochte was dropped by four major sponsor this week but there’s one corporation that reportedly isn’t shying away from the shamed Olympic swimmer — and that’s ABC.
The gold medalist who left Rio in a flood of controversy last week is going to be a contestant on Season 23 of “Dancing With the Stars,” according to USA Today, who reports that Lochte locked down a deal with the show before his Olympic scandal.
When asked for comment, ABC told TheWrap: “We don’t confirm on casting rumors.” The network is announcing the full cast on Aug. 30 via “Good Morning America” ahead of the season premiere on Monday, Sept. 12.
Lochte’s fall from grace came during the games in Brazil, when he claimed that he and three fellow U.S. swimmers competing in the Olympics were robbed at gunpoint. But local authorities soon countered that the athletes had actually been stopped by armed security guards and accused of vandalizing a gas station restroom. Lochte has now hired a crisis PR expert to try to save his reputation.
“I over-exaggerated this story, and if I hadn’t done that we wouldn’t be in this mess. It was my immature behavior,” he told NBC’s Matt Lauer on Saturday.
His confession didn’t stop sponsors including Speedo, Ralph Lauren, mattress company Airweave and Aaesthetics firm Syneron-Candela running for the hills, however, and all four have since cut ties with the swimmer.
Of course, Lochte is far from the first scandal-plagued celebrity to go on “DWTS” to rehab their image. Paula Deen, Gary Busey, David Hasselhoff and newly-suspended soccer player Hope Solo all attempted to dance their way back into the public’s hearts.