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Michael Phelps Speaks Out About Shark Race Controversy

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The New York Times states that the Discovery Channel has been producing shark programming for the past 30 years during Shark Week. It’s a summer TV fixture, and they attempt to generate excitement about new programs each year. In 2017, they advertised a race – “Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White” where Olympian Michael Phelps would race against a great white.

But when the show premiered along with a huge build-up and tons of advertising, many people were disappointed to see that Phelps swam alongside a CGI shark in the waters of South Africa. The sorta-shark easily beat Phelps even though he was wearing a fin on his feet.

“As for the race format, it’s not clear if people expected to actually see a great white in the next lane over in an Olympic-size pool. But whatever they wanted, they didn’t get it. The program left people feeling cheated, at least the noisiest ones on social media,” the New York Times writes.

Phelps decided to speak out about the controversy surrounding his swim on a Facebook Live video. In summary, he stated that he never said he was going to be swimming against an actual great white, and he certainly never intends to. Also, as logic would tell us, it’s impossible to train a shark to swim in a straight line and do so at the start of a race.

The fact is Phelps could never swim at a rate of 25 mph, a top speed for a great white, but Discovery Channel hoped that people would like watching him try.