Ryan Lochte has broken his silence on the incident that occurred during Monday’s episode of Dancing With the Stars, when two men rushed the stage after the disgraced Olympian’s performance.
“I want to thank my family, girlfriend, friends and fans for being so supportive of me after the incident on Dancing With the Stars Monday night,” Lochte wrote in note posted to his social media accounts. “When I was asked to do the show, the one thing that I kept hearing was that it was like joining a big family. After Monday’s incident, I now know what that means. I have gotten so much love from everyone on the show, including my partner Cheryl [Burke], my fellow competitors, the producers, the security team and its fans. I appreciate the opportunity to be part of the show, and more than ever I am dedicated to my new family and to working hard to do my best.”
On Monday’s broadcast, two men ran onto the stage and disrupted the competition series to protest Lochte’s appearance. The gold medalist landed in hot water at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro after lying to police about being robbed at gunpoint. He was later suspended by the International Olympic Committee for 10 months and forced to give up $100,000 in bonuses. The two men who crashed the stage were arrested by police.
“I came out here, I wanted to do something that I was completely not comfortable with,” Lochte said during the broadcast.
In the aftermath of the incident, Lochte received support from Burke and others. “I’m still trying to process everything that happened last night,” Burke wrote on her Facebook page Tuesday. “My heart is aching for Ryan and his family. No one deserves that sort of behavior directed at them. We all need to love each other and not be bullies or cowards.”
Read Lochte’s statement below.