An attempted attack on Olympic swimmer, Ryan Lochte, went down Monday night, during the live premiere episode of Dancing With the Stars.
The incident occurred at the conclusion of his debut performance with pro, Cheryl Burke, as the couple was standing before the judges. Viewers could hear boos rise from the audience, and it’s being reported that two male protestors stormed the dance floor, wearing anti-Lochte t-shirts. The shirts had been covered by second shirts, which were supposedly removed just before the incident. Other audience members were heard egging the men on, as they rushed the floor. Watch exclusive video footage below.
Judge, Carrie Ann Inaba, had just begun her critique, when the men rushed the floor, and came at the athlete. Security was quick to break up the scuffle and haul the protestors away. Cameras remained on Inaba, and a split screen of the judge and Lochte’s performance was all viewers could see from home, but ongoing audio of the confusion revealed that a there was a potentially violent incident unfolding. The show cut to commercial after the episode was brought under control, and after the break Tom Bergeron asked the swimmer how he felt when confronted with such “strong emotion.”
“So many feelings are going through my head right now,” Lochte said. “A little hurt—but you know I came out here, and I wanted to do something I am completely not comfortable with. And I did—I came out here with a big smile, and I have the best dance partner.”
Lochte and his Olympic teammates were exposed after an early morning drunken incident at a Rio de Janeiro gas station during the Olympic Games, after which they claimed that they were threatened and robbed. Lochte was banned for 10 months from the sport, had to forfeit $100k in bonuses, and will have to sit out of the 2017 world championships.
Lochte and Burke scored straight 6s for their premiere effort.
“I am shocked, and I am hurt for Ryan,” commented Burke. “Me and Ryan have gotten to know each other, and he’s an amazing guy. He’s great, he’s kind, and he’s just here working his butt off, and trying to do what he’s supposed to be doing, which is dancing. So I hope people give him a chance.”