Champion swimmer Michael Phelps’s highly anticipated race against a great white shark wasn’t as great as imagined. The great white wasn’t a real shark, and Phelps lost anyway.
The Discovery Channel program “Phelps vs. Shark” seemingly held a 100-meter race between the top human athlete and the great underwater hunter.
The network said in a statement given to Entertainment Tonight, “All the promotion, interviews, and the program itself made clear that the challenge wasn’t a side-by-side race.”
Phelps raced a computer generated shark that was based on the speed of a real shark. People who expected something real expressed their dissatisfaction across Twitter.
But despite what people thought Phelps revealed that it couldn’t possibly be a real shark. He mentioned how hard it would be to get great whites to swim in a straight line like that. Even if you hold some food out and have them follow it, Phelps explained how they would usually build up speed and come at food from underneath anyway, like when they breech the surface to catch a seal.
“We were off the tip of Cape Town in South Africa and set up, almost, a lane where I was able to swim in a straight line. We were in open water, but we did not have a shark literally next to me swimming,” said Phelps before the Discovery Channel broadcast, to Yahoo News. But he did not mention that the shark would be computer generated. Scientists that worked on the show said how they studied sharks to see how the race would work, but also don’t mention a computer generated shark.
“Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White” was part of the kickoff programming to The Discovery Channel’s Shark Week 2017. Phelps will also close out Shark Week with “Shark School With Michael Phelps” on July 30.