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Monday, 24 July 2017

Michael Phelps lost to a great white shark in a 100-meter race Sunday during Discovery Channel's kick off of Shark Week

Not even the most decorated Olympian of all time can keep up with a great white shark. Michael Phelps helped kick off the 2017 edition of Discovery Channel's annual Shark Week on Sunday with a race against a shark in Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White. The 23-time Olympic gold medalist finally met his match and lost the made-for-television race.
The world's most decorated Olympic swimmer completed 100m in open ocean off South Africa in 38.1 seconds to the shark's 36.1. Discovery Channel aired the "race".

But what viewers actually saw was a montage of Phelps swimming alongside a computer-generated Great White. Before Sunday's broadcast, Discovery had the 28-time Olympic medallist, who is now retired, and the shark swim the course separately.

Computer-generated footage of a shark was then superimposed over the swimmer to look like they were racing alongside each other. Some social media users loved the "race" idea, but many said that they felt "robbed" by the simulation.

Although the US athlete represents the peak of human athletic prowess, he can only swim at a top speed of 5-6mph (8-10km/h) without a monofin, while a Great White is capable of doing at least 25mph in short bursts.

But humans have long pitted themselves against dangerous animals, often ones they know are much faster.
They have done this for money; to draw attention to a cause; to create a spectacle, and perhaps also out of an inflated sense of what humans are capable of.

Phelps’s best time over 100m in competition is 47.51sec. With the fin and wetsuit he managed to complete the course in 38.1 but the “shark” came in two seconds faster. “Honestly, the first thought that went through my head when I saw the shark, there’s probably very little chance for me to beat him,” said Phelps.

The computer-generated shark was unavailable for comment after the race. Phelps, however, said he wanted a second chance: “Rematch? Next time … warmer water,” he tweeted.

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