Charlotte swimmer and Olympic gold medal winner Ryan Lochte appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America Tuesday, where he’ll be competing against the likes of Vanilla Ice, “Brady Bunch” star Maureen McCormick and “Taxi” star Marilu Henner.
Lochte will be dancing with Cheryl Burke during the show’s 23rd season.
The champion swimmer spent the early part of his GMA interview being questioned about his exaggerated robbery report during the Rio Olympics.
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He again apologized for the report, but stopped short of saying the incident never happened, noting money was exchanged during an encounter. He also denied claims that he damaged a restroom prior to the incident, pointing out the restroom was locked and he was never allowed into it. Lochte did admit to damaging a poster at the site.
He told GMA the weeks following the Rio incident have been the “lowest point of my life.”
“The emotional part is the hardest thing,” he told GMA. “It’s been really hard but the fans, my family, my friends, they’ve all been really positive, keeping me going and that’s what I want to do.”
When asked what he specifically lied about in his accounts, Lochte told GMA a gun was never pointed at his forehead during the encounter, which involved law enforcement officers. He said he was intoxicated when he told a reporter that detail.
Lochte said he made a “big mistake” when he claimed to have been held up at gunpoint during the Rio Olympics but that he thinks the reaction to the scandal that also implicated three of his U.S. Swimming teammates is “everyone blowing this way out of proportion.”
“Like I said, I did lie about that one part," Lochte, 32, said on Good Morning America, referring to his claim that a gun was held to his head. “I take full responsibility. I’m human. I made a mistake. A very big mistake...It’s something that I learned from and I know that will never happen again," he said
The interview came in connection with a promotion of his inclusion on Dancing with the Stars this season. Lochte was in talks to be on the show before the robbery report became international news. He said he now sees the appearance as a way to help him get past emotional impact of weeks worth of negative publicity.
“I’m never one to dwell on the past. I just want to move forward,” he told GMA. “Everyone has got to be sick and tired about hearing about this. I just want to move forward.”
Lochte denied he fled Brazil to avoid being questioned and says a legal team is now sorting through all the issues, including whether he will return there for questioning about making a false report, and whether he will pay back the $10,000 a team mate paid to leave the country after being taken into custody.
He also noted that he has apologized to his mom, and team mates over the issue, which Lochte believes has been blown out of proportion.
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