DWTS Alum Opens Up About Scary Ballroom Incident

Police car.

Heavy/ABC Ryan Lochte recalls being rushed by protesters on DWTS.

Season 23 “Dancing With the Stars” alum Ryan Lochte reflected on his time on the show during a sit-down with his pro partner, Cheryl Burke.

The Olympian specifically recalled being rushed by protesters while receiving judges’ feedback following his debut. Lochte first thought that the man who made his way onto the dance floor was part of production.

“I thought it was all part of the show. And then, like, within 30 seconds, I was like. ‘Wait. This isn’t part of the show,'” he told Burke on the November 27, 2023, episode of the “Sex, Lies, and Spray Tans” podcast. “It just ruined me,” he continued. “I’m like, ‘great. I was just on the track to get back out there. Getting outta this black hole that I was in,'” he added.

Once he got backstage, Lochte broke down in tears. “I was like, ‘I don’t deserve this,'” he explained.

Here’s what you need to know:

Ryan Lochte Was Accused of Fabricating a Robbery Story

Lochte went on “Dancing With the Stars” following a major controversy.

Around that time, he and three other members of Team USA claimed they were robbed at gunpoint while in Rio for the Summer Olympics, according to ABC News. However, a police investigation didn’t turn up any evidence of such a thing and many believed that the story was fabricated.

Lochte issued a statement shortly thereafter. “I wasn’t lying to a certain extent. I over-exaggerated what was happening to me,” he said, according to CNBC. All of his major sponsors effectively dropped him after that.

Lochte has won at least 90 medals in swimming competitions, including a bronze medal in the 400-meter individual medley in the 2008 Olympic Games and a gold medal in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay alongside Michael Phelps and Ricky Berens.

Everyone in the Ballroom, Including Ryan Lochte Felt Scared

Despite Lochte feeling like he wanted to move on, there were a few people who weren’t ready to let the past go.

While Lochte and Burke were listening to Carrie Ann Inaba‘s feedback, two men made their way to the ballroom floor, shouting things like “Liar!” They were quickly tackled by security, but their presence was enough to rattle everyone in the ballroom. The two men involved in the incident were arrested, per CNN.

“So many feelings are going through my head right now,” Lochte told then-host Tom Bergeron while cameras rolled, per ABC News. “I want to do something that I’m not completely comfortable with,” he added.

Meanwhile, then-judge Julianne Hough said that she was worried that something else might happen and called the incident frightening. Meanwhile, Alfonso Ribeiro, who was watching from the audience, was also shaken up.

Lochte received a great deal of support from the “Dancing With the Stars” family as well as the live audience, which he said made him feel “a little bit” better.

“It hurt me so bad,” he told Burke on her podcast.

Lochte and Burke made it about halfway through the competition, finishing in seventh place, just ahead of the semifinals.

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