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Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Ryan Lochte Conundrum

I have to admit, while I do find myself being captivated by some aspects of reality television, one show that I have never really gotten into was the show "Dancing with the Stars".

I get why it's so popular.  For those people who love ballroom dancing, it's a great way to whiskey tango foxtrot into the lives of professional dancers, and just how physically demanding a career in dance can be.  For the celebrities who perform, it's just a taste of what the professionals have to endure, and I think most of them walk away with a new appreciation for what Cheryl Burke, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, and Derek Hough do for a living.

And let's face it, "Dancing with the Stars" is a great way to revitalize a stale career.  Many of the celebrities who compete on the show were in a lull in their careers, and now it seems as though they are back in demand again.  Even some of the professional dancers have become famous themselves by competing on the show season after season! 

Of course, there are some examples in which people have appeared on that show because their names were linked to something scandalous, and appearing on the show is their way of trying to redeem themselves and reinvent themselves, which depending on who it is can be a good thing.

Of course, I'm not expecting to see O.J. Simpson, Phil Spector, or Jared the former Subway guy on the show anytime soon - mainly because all three of them are still behind bars.  But, I think you get my point.  I'm not really against fallen stars, washed-up child stars, and disgraced athletes competing on shows like "Dancing with the Stars" because in all honesty, many of them are good people who have made some mistakes that damaged their reputation and personal brand, and they're trying to fix it.

I suppose you could say that Ryan Lochte is one of those people.

By now, you probably know the tale of the disgraced Olympic athlete.  Before the 2016 Rio Olympics, he was a valued member of the American Olympic swim team, and over the last few years won twelve medals for his accomplishments - half of which were gold.  During the 2016 Rio Olympics, he and a few of his teammates were involved in a bizarre incident in which he claimed that they were robbed, but later on admitted that the story was a fabrication.  After the 2016 Rio Olympics, his golden star was left tarnished, as major sponsors dropped him left and right.  As of September 15, 2016, Lochte still isn't out of the woods yet.  He still faces charges of providing a false robbery claim which could net him a year and a half in prison if convicted.

To say that 2016 wasn't a good year for Lochte would be a bit of an understatement.

I must admit, when Lochte was announced as one of the celebrities taking part in "Dancing with the Stars", I didn't know what to think.  I admit that there was a part of me that thought he was crazy for even doing it given the scandal he created, but I'm thinking that his name was put on the final callbacks before the Rio incident happened.  And many people just assumed that he was only going through with it just to repair his reputation - which, you have to admit is not really that far off.  But at the same time, I don't begrudge him for that.  Do I think that him appearing on the show will give him instant redemption?  Probably not.  In fact, what happened in Rio will likely haunt him for several years after the fact.

At the same time though, I can't help but feel that he has major cojones for going through with it.  I mean, he's already going into the competition with people jeering him and shooting daggers at him.  Add to the pressure of competing against a group of other dancers who know their stuff and that is a lot on your plate.  So, in a way, I do have to commend Lochte for having the courage to go through with it.  Yes, he could have dropped out, but I do like the fact that he stayed to tough it out.  It doesn't make what he did in Rio right, but that's really on him to figure out what to do about that.

This being said, I would never purposely sit in the studio audience of "Dancing with the Stars" to egg him on and wish failure on him.  That's putting too much negative energy out in the open, and frankly the world needs a lot less of that.  If you don't like him, that's all fine and dandy.  Don't call his voting number.  Don't watch him on television.  And especially don't charge towards him on stage while Carrie Ann Inaba is trying to give out her commentary.  And to the two men who did just that on the last episode of the show as well as the people in the audience who were also causing havoc in protest of Lochte's appearance, I'm going to say that you're no better.

Seriously, that whole incident was absolutely ridiculous, and honestly I don't care what the motivation was.  I don't think that Lochte, his partner Cheryl Burke, host Tom Bergeron, or the entire judging panel of "Dancing with the Stars" deserved it.  It was disrespectful, and on a personal level, that display did nothing to endear yourself to me whatsoever because it was a silly thing to protest to begin with!

Protest to bring more rights for all people.  Protest to stop the passage of laws that take rights away.  Protest the outrageously high electricity costs that Ontario has to deal with!  That would get more of a stamp of approval from me!

Besides...Lochte didn't even do that great in his first dance.  It's possible he could improve, but the likelihood is that he won't last the whole season anyway.  I guess that kind of makes the protest seem a little bit lame in the grand scheme of things, doesn't it?

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