People Learn The Ugly Truth Behind That Michael Phelps Vs Shark Race

Somehow, people actually thought Phelps would race a real, live great white shark. Nope.



If you followed the much-hyped race between Michael Phelps and a great white shark, looking forward to the race and thinking Phelps might just have a chance, you're probably feeling pretty disappointed — and dumb — today.

Discovery Channel heavily promoted a 100m race between the world's most decorated Olympian and a great white shark. It's the start of Discovery's Shark Week. But the channel long ago jumped the shark on Shark Week, and this was no exception.

Phelps didn't race a great white at all. He raced a computer model. And he lost to boot.

In the end, despite being an athletic powerhouse, Phelps lost to the shark by two seconds. He swam "at a top speed of 5-6 mph (8-10 km/h) an hour, slower than the shark," according to the BBC.

Quite obviously.

All that hype for statistics. The shark wasn't real, as ecologist Tristan Gutteridge, one the featured scientists in the race, said. “Clearly, we can’t put Michael in one lane and a white shark on the far lane. We’re gonna have to do a simulation.”

The "shark," it later turned out, was a mere simulation generated by scientists who gathered data from actual sharks.

However, for many viewers, the truth was hard to swallow:






"They swim so fast, it's almost like a bullet," Phelps said. "I don't like taking silver medals but I'll take one against a great white."

Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters 

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