Ryan Lochte has arguably had the roughest start of anyone in the history of Dancing With the Stars, but he’s not about to let himself get discouraged.
ET was the first to join the U.S. Olympic gold medalist in rehearsal on Friday with pro partner Cheryl Burke, where Lochte shared how he’s been able to apply lessons from swimming to help him stay positive.
“I’ve had bad races, so it’s up to me to forget about those bad races and move on. Never dwell in the past,” he explained. “I have to stay positive and I have to keep moving forward.”
Immediately following his first dance, protesters wearing anti-Lochte shirts stormed the DWTS stage in the middle of judge Carrie Ann Inaba’s critique of the performance, causing security to intervene.
“When that happened, I thought it was part of the show,” Lochte recalled. “I was like, ‘Alright guys, that’s really not funny and then I realized it was for real and I was just in shock. And with mom being in the stands, she saw her son go through that and then Cheryl … I didn’t want that for anyone, so after that happened, I was like, ‘I’m just going to quit. I don’t want this for the show.’ I was just going to hang it up, but then talking with [Burke] and talking with my family, they really stuck behind me and said, ‘You got to keep doing this. You’re a fighter. You don’t quit.'”