— Shark Week (@SharkWeek) July 24, 2017
The Olympic gold medalist could not hold his own against a Great White shark in Sunday night’s racing spectacular on Discovery Channel to kick off Shark Week. “Phelps vs Shark: Great Gold vs Great White” pit the 32 years old swimmer against the fearsome animal in a 100 meter race. Rather than swim in same water, trainers forced the shark to chase prey for distance of the race and calculated the speed, along with a last-minute vertical jump used to attack smaller animals. The shark was then superimposed into water while Phelps swam for a fun, yet disappointing, CGI race. For some competitive balance, Phelps, who has 28 Olympic medals to his name, was equipped with a wetsuit that emulated shark skin and a spring loaded fake fin.
But that was not enough, as shark pulled off the gold medal, beating Phelps 36,10 seconds to 38,10 seconds. A Phelps win was unlikely from the beginning, Great Whites average 25 mph in short bursts while the puny human swims about 6 mph, he said he was thrown off by cold water, which, at 56 degrees at time of the race, was 24 degrees colder than an Olympic pool. “I knew how cold it was going to be, but that basically just shocked my entire body” he said. But a 2 second defeat did not faze the Olympian. “I don’t like taking silver, but I’ll take one to a Great White” Phelps added.