Ryan Lochte's nerves for hitting the ballroom floor for the first time tonight were quickly replaced with nerves over an ambush by audience members.
As we reported earlier, the Olympic swimmer was rushed by anti-Lochte protesters during the taping of tonight's Dancing With the Stars premiere when the Olympian and his partner Cheryl Burke were waiting to hear the judges' responses to their performance.
While the actual altercation was not aired on television, the commotion was felt by the viewers, whether it was by Carrie Ann Inaba's comments or the slight image of bodies running towards the stage.
After the incident (security ended up detaining the men after kicking them out of the show), Lochte spoke to E! News about what happened. "It's hard," he tells E! News' Sibley Scoles, adding that it felt like "someone reached inside and ripped my heart out and stepped on it."
An eyewitness tells E! News that men wearing white anti-Lochte T-shirts rushed the stage in what looked to be an attempt to attack the Olympian, but the show's security team made sure nothing happened. The protesters were immediately kicked out from the show to the sound of the crowd booing. "Everyone was freaked out, especially Ryan and Cheryl. They were just frozen the entire time in utter shock," the insider tells us.
Host Tom Bergeron cut to commercial break, but upon return, a noticeably shaken Lochte said, "I'm doing good. So many feelings are going through my head right now. A little hurt. I came out here and I wanted to do something I was completely uncomfortable with, and I did."
"I'm hurt for Ryan," Cheryl told Tom after the commercial break. "He's sweet, he's kind. He's working his butt off. I hope people give him a chance."