The embattled Gold medal athlete Ryan Lochte has thanked his friends, family and fans for their “support” after protesters stormed the stage during his debut on Dancing with the Stars.
He wrote on Instagram: “When I was asked to do the show, the one thing I kept hearing was that it was like joining a big family.
“After Monday's incident I now know what that means.
“I have gotten so much love from everyone on the show, including my partner Cheryl, my fellow competitors, the producers, the secuirty team and its fans.”
He said he will not quit the show.
Two protesters, Sam Sotoodeh, 59, and Barzeen Soroudi, 25, rushed onto the stage as Mr Lochte and dancing partner Cheryl Burke were being critiqued by the judges, disrupting filming.
They were tackled by security guards and escorted from the building, and have been arrested on suspicion of misdemeanour trespassing. Both are being held on $1,000 bail.
Other protesters in the audience wearing anti-Lochte T-shirts called out chants against the swimmer, who was recently forced to apologise for falsely claiming that he and his teammates were robbed at gunpoint in Rio during the Olympic Games.
“If I didn’t over-exaggerate the story and I had told the entire story, none of this would have happened,” he said during an interview with TV Globe, blaming his “immature” and “intoxicated” behaviour.
Authorities had disputed Mr Lochte’s version of events and claimed he made up the story to cover his vandalisation of a petrol station and his public urination.
The two arrested protesters said they rushed onto the stage to show that they did “not take what he did lightly”, as reported by the Daily Mail.
Mr Lochte has been banned from competing for 10 months.
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