It's official: Ryan Lochte is heading to Dancing With the Stars.
The casting was announced on Good Morning America Tuesday. Admittedly, Lochte said the timing wasn't great—but the Olympic swimmer had signed on prior to the incident in Rio that tarnished his reputation and cost him several sponsors. Recalling the night in question, he said, "I'm not one to make excuses, but I was still intoxicated. I was still going through the emotions of having a gun pulled on me. I'm just...I'm human. I made a mistake, and that's something I'm going to have to live with." Lochte told Amy Robach he wanted to clarify some of the details, saying, "USA Today and other people have been finding out, investigating it, and there was no damage to the bathroom. I never even entered the bathroom. It was locked, so we couldn't go in there at all. So the story about me vandalizing the bathroom is absurd. It never happened."
Lochte, who gave his first interview to NBC's Matt Lauer upon his return to the U.S., added, "The thing that I told that wasn't true was having the gun pointed to my forehead and cocked. That was over-exaggerated."
"I did lie about that one part and I take full responsibility," the gold medalist said. "I'm human. I made a mistake—a very big mistake. And it's something that I learned from, and I know that that will never happen again."
The athlete's behavior affected three his teammates, including Jimmy Feigen, who was forced to pay $11,000 in order to leave Brazil and return to the United States. "My legal team, they're dealing with it, and whatever happens, happens," Lochte said of the ongoing investigation. "I reached out to Jimmy saying, 'I know you had to pay that fine. It is my fault.' I'm taking full responsibility for this, and I will pay that back, if he will let me."
"I've reached out to everyone...That was the most important thing that I did, because they mean so much to me," he said of teammates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Feigen. Knowing they were stuck in Rio while he was back in the U.S. made Lochte feel guilty. "That hurt me because I wasn't there and I wanted to be there and I wanted to help," he said. "I left on my own time; I didn't leave them for dry or anything like that. The authorities cooperated with me. Everything was perfect. They said, 'Congratulations on your gold medal,' and I left. I've been really trying to be supportive and positive for them. That's all I can do right now."
The Brazilian government recently filed charges against Lochte, but he did not say whether he plans to return to the country to face them. "I definitely have a great team, and they're dealing with it—all the legal issues. We're just trying to get this over with. It's been dragged out way too long. The media's taken this to a whole new level, and I just want to put this behind me and move on and move forward. I think the rest of the world wants that, too," he told Robach. "I mean, we've been talking about this way too long. There's other issues that this world is facing."
The Rio incident has taken a toll on Lochte—legally, financially and emotionally. "The emotional part is the hardest thing," he admitted. "The past two weeks have been the lowest point of my life. It's been really hard. But the fans, my family, my friends, they've all been really positive, keeping me going. And that's what I wanna do. And this is perfect with the show because I want to put that behind me. I'm never one to dwell on the past. I just want to move forward and I want the whole world to move forward. Everyone's got to be sick and tired of hearing about this. I know I am."
"I just want to move forward and...put on my dancing shoes. Or at least try to!"