Ryan Lochte is probably never going to be able to rebuild his reputation after what happened at the Rio Olympics—not that it was the most sterling reputation to begin with—but he's doing what he can to revamp his image by appearing on the current season of Dancing With the Stars. And while appearing on the show, he has struck up an unlikely friendship with fellow contestant Rob Van Winkle, a.k.a. Vanilla Ice, and apparently, the two have bonded over more than just their personal experiences with terrible hair dye jobs.
Lochte spoke with USA Today Sports over the weekend and revealed that his relationship with Vanilla Ice has been "awesome." The duo met after Vanilla Ice struck up a convo with Lochte when he saw him sitting by himself in a corner on the DWTS set, cut off from everyone else because of the Olympics robbery story that had spun totally out of control. Vanilla Ice said the 12-time Olympic medal winner "seemed lost and embarrassed" and that he "didn’t know what to say" to his fellow DSTW contestants. So Vanilla Ice befriended him and started giving him advice for moving on with his life.
"He was flustered and I kind of told him, 'Put it together, man. Yesterday’s history and tomorrow’s a mystery,'" Vanilla Ice told USA Today Sports. "You know, what you did yesterday you can’t go back and change it. It happened. It’s done."
In addition to delivering that pep talk, Vanilla Ice also gave an expletive-laden motivational speech to Lochte after he was rushed by two protestors during the DWTS season's opening episode. "You just got a gold medal for America," the rapper yelled at the Olympian. "You’re the man! Keep your head up!"
All in all, it's a rather heartwarming story, not unlike when two animals become friends at a petting zoo or something. Vanilla Ice even added that he's been surprised by Lochte's resilience. "I’m like, wow, I thought he would bail out and kind of bury his head like an ostrich for six months and just kind of sit in the sorrow and the shame," he said. "This guy has big balls."