It's been a tough few months for Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, who is now competing on “Dancing with the Stars” as part of his redemption tour.
On Tuesday, the swimmer was nearly eliminated. A week before, protesters crashed the stage during his opening-night performance.
Earlier today, Ryan and pro dance partner Cheryl Burke chatted with “Extra's” Mario Lopez at Universal Studios Hollywood about his rough start on the ABC show.
Ryan admitted dancing is more challenging than swimming, emphasizing, “This is ten times harder. I thought being an athlete would be a piece of cake learning how to dance. It's so hard. Luckily, I have her as my dance partner or I'd be so lost.” Cheryl is tough on him during rehearsals and is whipping him "into shape.” Despite it all, she was full of praise for Ryan, gushing, “He's amazing, he's always on time, likes to have fun, works hard.” She added, “It doesn't come natural to him at all; posture, we have to work on. He wants to do well and giving me his all and that's all you can ask for.”
Lochte also revealed what was going through his mind when he saw the protesters come out and interrupt the judges after his inaugural dance. He commented, “It was hard, I was in shock… I was like, 'They could have come after us, we don't know…' To have my family in the stands there watching that, I felt really bad and I felt bad for Cheryl, too, and the show. The show's so classy and fun — they didn't deserve that. It definitely was hard, but [I appreciate] the support from the show and everyone coming up to me saying, 'Keep your head up, stay positive.'”
Ryan even saw his mom in tears. He said, ”She couldn't really say anything after the show, she was just in tears because she saw her son go through that… It was hard seeing my mom cry.”
Another special lady in his life is his girlfriend, Playboy model Kayla Rae Reid, who has been supporting him every step of the way. He dished, “She just gave me a big hug and big kiss and [was] like, 'Stay positive, we have your back.'"Even though Kayla loves him, she is still able to keep it real with him. “She's like, 'Ryan, you need a little bit more work — it looks like you are too stiff out there.'"
As for the next few weeks, the 32-year-old is focused on not being at the bottom of the leaderboard, reiterating, “I don't want to be in that position again.”
After “DWTS,” Lochte is planning on getting back in the pool and competing again once his 10-month suspension from swimming is over. He declared, “I definitely will be back.”
Lochte also has big plans involving kids! “I love working with kids, teaching them things I have learned throughout my journey, teaching them to swim.”
For now, catch Ryan and Cheryl on the dance floor on “DWTS,” which airs Mondays on ABC.