Ryan Lochte has won countless awards for his abilities in the pool, but can he and partner Cheryl Burke bring home the mirror ball trophy on Season 23 of “Dancing With the Stars”? His partner — a seasoned veteran of the ABC competition series — seems to think so.
In a blog post on People magazine, Burke opened up about her pairing. She compared working with the Olympic swimmer, who was recently embroiled in controversy after lying about a criminal incident in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to working with former partner Rob Kardashian. Neither had any prior dance experience, but were committed to mastering the craft. Couple Lochte’s dedication with his Olympic training and you’ve got a recipe for a potential win. The New York native “shows up on time, ready to work, takes constructive criticism well and wants to keep practicing until he’s perfect,” according to the blog post.
Burke, 32, also noted that her novice partner has allowed neither fallout from his Olympic flub nor his training schedule in the pool interfere with his appearance on “DWTS.” She and Lochte have yet to decide what their first dance will be, but she assures fans they’re working hard on nailing something down before the premiere.
“The Olympics are over, so we luckily don’t have to balance our rehearsals with Ryan’s training schedule. But with everything going on in his life right now, there is a lot on his mind,” Burke wrote. “I’m really glad that I can be there now as a distraction. The show has given him something else to focus on: getting ready to dance in front of millions of people. I think this opportunity came at the perfect time for him. He’s a competitor and love competition and I think it’s great that he has a new goal to tackle.”
Right now, it’s anyone’s guess who will win the competition. There has, however, been a lot of speculation. On Aug. 30, we put out our predictions for Season 23, which named Marilu Henner as a frontrunner. Not only does she have prior experience dancing — her mother owned a dance studio during her childhood — but she’s paired with Derek Hough, who has won the show six times. We also speculated that Laurie Hernandez and Val Chmerkovskiy, Lochte and Burke, and Terra Jolé and Sasha Farber were serious contenders. Fans of the show will have to tune in Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. EDT to find out for sure who’s got two left feet and who will spend Season 23 showcasing their fancy footwork.
The “DWTS” celebrity cast was announced on Tuesday during “Good Morning America.” Lochte and Hernandez appeared on the popular morning show, ribbing one another about who will ultimately win. They then assisted in making the announcement about the rest of the Season 23 cast, which includes Maureen McCormack, Amber Rose, Gov. Rick Perry, Jake T. Austin, Calvin Johnson, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Vanilla Ice, James Hinchcliffe and Jana Kramer, in addition to the aforementioned dancers.
“DWTS” premieres Monday, Sept. 12, at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC. Who are you hoping to see win?