Ryan Lochte and Rick Perry aim to salvage reputations by 'Dancing with the Stars'

Perry, the former governor of Texas, thought new glasses might save him. Now he tries dancing shoes

David Usborne
New York
Tuesday 30 August 2016 18:09 BST
Perry has traded politics for reality show
Perry has traded politics for reality show (AP)

Ryan Lochte, the disgraced Olympian, is diving into a new pool, this time the set of Dancing with the Stars, the popular ABC TV reality show that pairs celebrities with professional dancers.

He is one of a new line-up of contestants announced by the network on Tuesday. Among them another stands out as having not lived up to the expectations of his fans - Rick Perry, the former Texas Governor who failed for a second time to win the Republican nomination for president.

Mr Perry opens himself up to particular ridicule. His first bid for his party’s nomination collapsed in 2011 when he declared in a candidates' debate that as president he would close down three government departments in Washington and then was able to name only two of them.

The former governor, 66, was widely lampooned as he prepared to make a second run for the White House last year when he starting donning a new pair of spectacles that critics said were designed to make him look intelligent. This time he made it through the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary before dropping out again for lack of popular support.

It remains to be seen if his dancing shoes will serve him better than his fancy eyewear. In a Twitter message he said he had agreed to do the show because it would help raise money for veterans, a cause that he has held close to his heart. Some observers will note that Mr Perry is trading presidential politics for reality TV, while the man who slayed him in the primaries this year, Donald Trump, had made the reverse journey, from reality entertainment to politics.

For Mr Lochte, the popularity of the show could prove a potent means to rehabilitate himself after the debacle of Brazil. Last week, several of his main sponsors, including Speedo and Ralph Lauren announced they were ditching him as a spokesman for their products.

The troubles for the swimmer stem from the claim he made in Brazil that he and three other US swimmers had been held up at gunpoint while returning one evening to the Olympic Village after a night out.

But last Thursday, the Brazilian authorities announced that they had charged him with fabricating a crime. Officials said that video footage have shown that the four men in fact confronted a security guard themselves after vandalising a toilet.

Mr Lochte has apologised for what happened and acknowledged he was drunk at the time.

Mr Perry will team up with pro partner Emma Slate when the new season of Dancing with the Stats begins on 12 September. Other celebrities viewers can expect to see are ‘Brady Bunch”'star Maureen McCormick, recording artists Kenny 'Babyface“ Edmonds,' Jana Kramer and Vanilla Ice, Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez, NFL wide receiver Calvin Johnson, actress Marilu Henner, race car driver James Hinchcliffe, and Little Women: LA star Terra Jole.

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