Michael Phelps – arguably the greatest swimmer in the world – is going to race a great white shark. Yes, you read that correctly.
In what truly is the strangest (and possibly coolest) race ever, Phelps is going up against one of the ocean's most powerful creatures for Discovery Channel's Shark Week. There's not much that is known about the Phelps vs. great white shark race, but if we know anything about Shark Week, we know it will probably be awesome. The 23-time gold medalist might be one of the best swimmers that walks the Earth, but how will he measure up against one of the scariest animals in the world?
But Logistically, How Will This Work?
Not a lot of details have been released about the race – which will take place during Discovery Channel's Shark Week in July – but there has been a lot of speculation. Great white sharks are powerful creatures, and big too. Because of this, they can't be kept in captivity. There's also the issue of a difference in speed. Phelps can swim between 4.5 mph and 6 mph, great whites swim 25 mph to 35 mph.
What's more than likely to happen is a possible simulation where the playing field is evened out to account for speed. It would be super complicated (and dangerous) for Phelps to swim in open water with a great white shark; it would also be tough to keep the animal on track. So, while we don't know a lot about the race itself, it probably won't be a tete-a-tete the way we'd like to imagine it.
Phelps Is Already Preparing
The race is scheduled to go down on July 23, according to the Discovery Channel. In the meantime, it appears as though Phelps is training for it. The race is being dubbed Great Gold vs. Great White.
Could This Be Another Discovery Channel Trick? Probably
As previously stated, the logistics for this race seem... complicated. Could this be another Discovery Channel false advertising trick? If you can recall, in 2014, Discovery Channel advertised its new special Eaten Alive, which promised to show a man being eaten alive by an anaconda. Except, he wasn't.
Naturalist Paul Rosolie, 27, wore a snake-proof suit and baited a 20-foot-long anaconda to eat him. Discovery Channel hyped the special as must-see TV, and it all ended up backfiring. The snake was scared of Rosolie – which kind of takes away from the whole "terrifying-murder-beast-wants-to-eat-you" vibe of the show. After pissing the snake off, she started attacking him, and Rosolie chickened out.