When "Dancing With The Stars" 2016 resumes tonight on ABC, Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke will continue their quest for the Mirrorball Trophy when they and the rest of the cast take part in the first-ever "DWTS" Cirque du Soleil Night. But their turn with acrobats almost didn't come to pass, as the duo's partnership nearly came to a premature end when Lochte considered quitting the season 23 competition following a frightening ballroom attack during premiere night. Burke and Lochte shared more details on what made him stay in the competition in an Oct. 23 USA Today report.

Cheryl Burke on Ryan Lochte's reaction to the 'DWTS' attack

After beginning his tenure in Los Angeles feeling "scared to walk out in public" in the wake of the Rio Games scandal, Lochte was dealt an even bigger blow when, during the Sept.

12 premiere, two men wearing anti-Lochte t-shirts walked on stage following his foxtrot with Burke. Although they were quickly tackled by security and removed from the "Dancing with the Stars" ballroom, the damage was done, and Burke shared with USA Today that the swimmer told her he was quitting the show. He responded to Burke's text messages that evening with what she termed "radio silence." 

But he wound up sticking with his commitment, thanks in part to a lecture from Burke, a pep talk from one of his "DWTS" season 23 competitors (rapper Vanilla Ice), and plenty of moral support from the entire cast, including a long hug from country star Jana Kramer. Particularly memorable for Lochte were Vanilla Ice's words --"you're the man! Keep your head up!"-- and strong words from Burke, who insisted "You’re going to either come out of this strong or run away and hide in a dark corner."

Ryan Lochte ready to Viennese waltz... and tie the knot?

Although he hasn't been judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, and Julianne Hough's favorite performer of the season --and in fact, of the remaining 11 couples, he and Burke are tied with model and Slutwalk founder Amber Rose and Maksim Chmerkovskiy for the fewest points total points awarded to date-- he's still alive in the hunt for the glittering Mirrorball Trophy.

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When "DWTS" Cirque du Soleil Night airs tonight on ABC, Lochte and Burke will perform a Viennese waltz inspired by "O." In fact, the duo visited the production in Las Vegas over the weekend. 

But that's not all: per the report, he's also primed to pop the question to girlfriend Kayla Rae Reid. Stay tuned to see if we wind up with a "DWTS" ballroom proposal! 

To vote for Ryan Lochte following tonight's episode of "Dancing with the Stars" 2016 --and according to his Oct. 3 blog, he does "not know how to waltz" so he's "gonna need" the fan support-- call 800-868-3411.