Michael Phelps & Discovery Defend ‘Phelps Vs Shark’ CGI Shark Race Against Critics [VIDEO]
After receiving heavy backlash for their decision to have Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps race a computer-generated shark instead of a live shark, Discovery channel and the swimmer have defended their position.
On a Facebook live video on Tuesday, Phelps answered fan’s questions on a wide-range of topics including his favorite football team, getting slimed at the Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards, and the now-infamous Shark Week race.
“Everybody wants to try to pick on something or say something or complain about something,” the most decorated Olympian of all time told his viewers. “I had fun racing a shark and seeing those animals up close and personal. If somebody actually wants to get in the water and race side by side with a great white, go ahead. You’re not going to get the shark to swim in a straight line. And, yeah, it would be interesting to see. We’ll leave it at that.”
What seemed to irk fans most after the Sunday night race to kick off Discovery’s Shark Week, was that advertising for the event seemed to be misleading. While the lead up to the event never stated that Phelps would be racing a live shark, it also never said that he would be racing a computer-generated shark.
Phelps addressed the promotion for the event during the live video as well.
“You can believe whatever you want,” Phelps said to a user who felt deceived. “Everything was either presented on air during multiple interviews that I did throughout Shark Week or the beginning of the show. Sorry you feel that way. For me, this was something I always wanted to do, and I was honored to be able to do it. I’m sorry you feel that way, I feel very different.”
Discovery also defended the promotion and explained more about the science behind the race.
“In Phelps Vs Shark we enlisted world class scientists to take up the challenge of making the world’s greatest swimmer competitive with a Great White,” the network told Deadline.
“The show took smart science and technology to make the challenge more accessible and fun. All the promotion, interviews and the program itself made clear that the challenge wasn’t a side by side race. During Michael’s pre-show promotion, as well as within the first 2 minutes of Phelps Vs Shark, this message was clear and we are thrilled with the audience and the engagement around the world.”
Phelps, who lost the race to the computer-generated shark, insisted that the reason behind his loss was the cold water that shocked him when he first went in.
On Tuesday, the swimmer hinted at a rematch on Twitter, this time though, with the water a little warmer.