Cheryl Burke Talks Working With Ryan Lochte for 'Dancing With the Stars'

"I'm really glad that I can be there now as a distraction," she said.

— -- Cheryl Burke is back on "Dancing with the Stars" and has a celebrity partner that has been in the news just a bit as of late -- Ryan Lochte.

"I couldn't be happier," the dancer, who left the show in 2014 to explore other opportunities, wrote in a blog for People magazine.

"In a way, it feels like I'm doing the show for the first time. I'm excited again -- and I'm ready to go out there and give it my best shot," she wrote.

As for working with the polarizing Olympian, she adds, "I've worked with athletes like Chad Ochocinco and Emmitt Smith in the past and I've always been impressed by their work ethic -- and Ryan is no different. He shows up on time, ready to work, takes constructive criticism well and wants to keep practicing until he's perfect."

Burke says working with Lochte reminds her of when she was paired with Rob Kardashian. Then, the consummate professional addressed the elephant in the room -- the backlash Lochte has faced from his actions in Rio.

"The Olympics are over, so we luckily don't have to balance our rehearsals with Ryan's training schedule. But with everything going on in his life right now, there is a lot on his mind," she adds. "I'm really glad that I can be there now as a distraction. The show has given him something else to focus on: getting ready to dance in front of millions of people. I think this opportunity came at the perfect time for him."

Lochte has said he made a "very big mistake" when he claimed to have been held up at gunpoint during the Rio Olympics but thinks the ensuing scandal was blown out of proportion.

"I did lie about that one part," Lochte told "Good Morning America." "I take full responsibility. I'm human. I made a mistake. A very big mistake."

He added, "It's been dragged out way too long. The media has taken this to a whole new level, and I just want to put this behind me and move on and move forward."