Welcome to Made Man’s Long Shot of the Week! This week’s long shot: That 12-time Olympic medal-winning swimmer, reality TV knucklehead and ugly American in Rio, Ryan Lochte, will win season 23 of Dancing with the Stars.
The Odds: 10/1, per Bovada.
Athletes do well on the show. Of the 22 seasons of it, athletes have won eight.
Why It Might Happen: There are many good reasons why Ryan Lochte will nab the Mirror Ball trophy on this season of Dancing with the Stars, which starts September 12 on ABC. First, you gotta figure he’s motivated. He knows he’s lucky to have this opportunity after his fiasco in Brazil, and he’ll look to this time in front of the camera to repair his reputation among Americans and win back any fans of his who might have abandoned him. He also knows that the best way to do this will be to stay on the show as long as possible. Flaming out after a week or two will do him and his relationship with the American public little good.
Second, athletes tend to do well on the show. Of the previous 22 seasons of the show, athletes have won eight of them (36%), with male athletes like Emmitt Smith, Hines Ward, Apolo Ohno and Donald Driver taking home the show’s ultimate prize. Lochte might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he knows how to train hard, execute under the spotlight and pull out victories. You don’t win six Olympic gold medals without possessing a lot of confidence in your abilities and knowing how to close the deal.
Third, he’s paired with Cheryl Burke, who is one of the best dancers on the show. She has won the competition twice, and one of those times was with an athlete — Emmitt Smith. She also hasn’t won since season 3, so like Lochte, she’ll be motivated to take it all the way.
Finally, and this might be the best reason of all, Lochte will benefit from a scoring system that allows votes from the public. Despite Lochte’s missteps in Rio, he’s still popular with the sort of crowd that will be eagerly watching this show (read: teenage girls and moms). You just know that women (and some men) all across North America will be hopping on Facebook and the ABC website and their phones to cast votes for the hunky Olympic swimmer.
When you take all this into consideration, we’re surprised Lochte has below-average odds to win it all.
Granted, it won’t be super easy. He’ll have tough competition from fellow Olympian Laurie Hernandez (the favorite with 4/1 odds), Amber Rose (5/1), Calvin Johnson (8/1) and the gorgeous country singer Jana Kramer (8/1). Our advice: Bet big on Lochte and hope he dances like he has a gun pointed at his head.
And if Lochte doesn’t win it all, you can always claim he was robbed.