Ryan Lochte was a controversial addition to the “Dancing with the Stars” cast this season. The Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer was caught telling half-truths this summer when he reported being robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro. That drama came back to haunt him in the very first week of competition when protesters stormed the stage after his performance. But will it affect the competition itself?
Two men wearing anti-Lochte t-shirts jumped on stage and interrupted the judges’ critique of Lochte’s foxtrot with pro partner Cheryl Burke before they were intercepted by the show’s security. Host Tom Bergeron abruptly threw to commercial, and when the show returned Lochte said, “So many feelings are going through my head right now. I’m a little hurt.” Burke also came to Lochte’s defense by saying, “I’m shocked, and I’m hurt for Ryan.”
The incident probably didn’t have much affect on his scores from the judges. They gave him sixes across the board for a total of 24, putting him on the lower end of the leaderboard. But half of the outcomes on “Dancing with the Stars” are based on the votes of viewers at home, and the incident could potentially sway their votes.
But which way? On one hand, Lochte could earn extra sympathy from viewers for enduring the fear and humiliation of angry protesters storming the stage to condemn him. On the other hand, there might be viewers who think he had it coming. He received sympathy in Rio after he first reported his robbery, but when the inconsistencies in his story came to light he had tarnished not only his own reputation but the reputation of the Olympic host nation.
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