Michael Phelps Loses To Computer-Generated Shark To Kick Off ‘Shark Week’; Fans Vent Rage
Decorated Olympian Michael Phelps raced a computer generated image of a shark and lost on Sunday night, in what many considered to be a disappointing start to Discovery’s Shark Week.
The annual celebration of the ocean’s most feared predator, was believed to be an exciting one this year when the Discovery channel heavily advertised the race between Phelps and a great white shark. While no details of the specifics of the race were made public before hand, most believed that Phelps would in fact race an actual shark, even if in separate pools.
In the end, it was revealed towards the conclusion of the hour-long special that Phelps would race only a computer generated shark used to simulate the speed at which a shark may race.
In fact, the computer generated shark detail wasn’t revealed until 57 minutes into the show when announcer Tristan Gutteridge said, “Clearly, we can’t put Michael in one lane and a white shark on the far lane. We’re going to have to do a simulation.”
This announcement sent many devoted Shark Week watchers into a fit of rage.
“I honestly feel so robbed that I just watched an hour of a stupid show to see Michael Phelps race a FAKE shark. #fakenews,” a user named Hannah Bowen wrote on Twitter.
I honestly feel so robbed that I just watched an hour of a stupid show to see Michael Phelps race a FAKE shark. #fakenews
— Hannah Bowen (@HannahGBowen) July 24, 2017
Another user wrote, “Reactions from the shark community after the Phelps/fake shark competition,” to caption a picture of Katy Perry’s infamous “Left Shark” dancer during Super Bowl XLIX in 2015.
Reactions from the shark community after the Phelps/fake shark competition. pic.twitter.com/8vziyzWOjr
— Mike Sciandra (@MikeSciandra) July 24, 2017
To add insult to injury, Phelps lost the race by two seconds – the shark swam the 100 meter race in 38.10 seconds while Phelps, wearing a rubber fin on his feet, swam the race in 36.10 seconds.
Afterwards, Phelps said that he probably could have won if the pool hadn’t been so cold. At 56 degrees, the water was 24 degrees colder than an Olympic pool in which Phelps has won 28 medals.
“I knew how cold it was going to be, but that basically just shocked my entire body,” Phelps, 32, said after the race. “I don’t like taking silver but I’ll take one to a Great White.”
Shark Week continues on Discovery through Sunday, July 30.