U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte might participate in the next edition of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” sources told ESPN.com.
ABC spokesperson George Zaralidis said in a statement that “we do not comment on casting rumors.” Representatives for the 32-year-old Lochte aren’t saying anything, either.
Sources told ESPN.com that ABC officials initiated conversations before the Summer Games about Lochte appearing on the celebrity show, and negotiations continued after the 12-time Olympic medalist was involved in a drunken incident at a Rio de Janeiro gas station, for which he has since apologized.
Sources said negotiations proceeded so smoothly last week that Lochte was a virtual shoo-in to be on the 23rd season of the show, which begins Sept 12.
The announcement of the cast is scheduled to take place on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Aug. 30.
On Aug. 14, the morning after the swimming competition ended at the Rio games, Lochte and three teammates asked a cab driver to stop at a gas station so they could use the restroom. The group urinated outside of the station and Lochte damaged a promotional poster. Two security guards confronted the men, and guns were drawn during an altercation. The Americans paid about $50 before they were allowed to go.
Lochte’s version of the story changed several times. In an interview with NBC on the morning of the incident, Lochte said the taxi he was in was pulled over, and he was robbed and had a gun put to his head. Three days later, he told NBC that he and the other swimmers were “victims” and that he hadn’t made the story up.
On Aug. 19, Lochte apologized on Instagram, saying he “accept[ed] responsibility for my role in this happening and have learned some valuable lessons.” The next day, in an interview with “Today,” he said he was intoxicated during the incident and that he “over-exaggerated the story.”
The three other swimmers — Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen — have all released statements apologizing for their role in scandal, as well.
On Monday, Lochte lost all of his sponsorships. Three — Speedo, Gentle Hair Removal and Airweave — announced they would sever their deals with Lochte. Ralph Lauren, which had a deal with Lochte through the Olympics, said it wouldn’t renew a deal with him.
Lochte finished Rio with only one medal — a gold in the 4×200 relay.
“Dancing with the Stars” wouldn’t be Lochte’s first foray into reality television. He had a reality show on E! in 2013 called “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?”