Ryan Lochte in Talks to Join Season 23 of Dancing with the Stars Cast After Rio Controversy
While the cast of the latest edition of the reality competition series has yet to be announced and ABC does not comment on casting reports, the source says Lochte may be among the front-runners.
According to a DWTS insider, “Ryan has wanted to be on the show for years.”
“I’ve been thinking about it a lot, because I have a big heart, and I feel like let down a lot of people,” Lochte told PEOPLE on Wednesday. “I feel bad that I have let people down.”
“Everyone started watching it, and they didn’t watch the athletes,” he continued. “That’s another reason why I’m so hurt by it, because it took away from the Games.”
After prodding from Brazilian police, however, Lochte admitted to PEOPLE in an exclusive interview that he had “made up” details about the robbery. Instead, the group had been confronted by a security guard after being accused of vandalizing a gas station bathroom.
“The part I made up was saying that it was a robbery. I think the word ‘robbery’ shocked a lot of people, and the story went viral after that,” he told PEOPLE. “A gun was pulled, and we had to give them cash. If I didn’t say ‘robbery,’ none of this would have happened.”
Subsequently, Lochte told PEOPLE he apologized to his teammates, James Feigen, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz, who had been held in Brazil for questioning in relation to the swimmer’s comments.
Dancing with the Stars wouldn’t be Lochte’s first foray into reality television: he starred on brief E! series What Would Ryan Lochte Do? in 2013.
The show chronicled the life of the American swimmer as he prepared for Rio.
• With reporting by PATRICK GOMEZ
Season 23 of DWTS premieres Sept. 12 on ABC.