Michael Phelps’s ‘Shark Week’ Race Against a Great White Killer
We’ve known for nearly two weeks that Michael Phelps would be testing his aquatic prowess against a great white shark during Discovery’s “Shark Week.” Now we know when the Olympic hero will face off against his most dangerous opponent yet.
In a trailer released Wednesday and titled “Phelps Vs. Shark: The Battle for Ocean Supremacy,” the race’s broadcast date was announced for July 23 along with harrowing clips of a jumping great white eating a seal and Phelps geared up in a (banned-from-human-competition) full-body suit.
The 30-second trailer is intense, billing the event between “the great white shark” and “the greatest of all time.”
It still is not clear exactly how Phelps, who turns 32 later this month, will be racing the great white, although from the promo, it does appear to be a freestyle race — at least for the human participant. In any event, here’s hoping there’s more separating Phelps from his foe than just some floating lane markers.
Here is the breathless blurb from the original news release (Discovery channel) regarding its popular annual shark-stravaganza:
“They are one of the fastest and most efficient predators on the planet: Sharks. He is our greatest champion to ever get in the water: Michael Phelps. 39 world records. 23 Olympic golds.
“But he has one competition left to win. An event so monumental no one has ever attempted it before. The world’s most decorated athlete takes on the ocean’s most efficient predator: Phelps V Shark — the race is on!”
Phelps provided a possible preview of what to expect shortly before the original announcement, when he posted a photo showing a great white passing ominously by a diving cage. “I was able to do something that I had always wanted to do,” Phelps said.
If that weren’t enough excitement, Phelps will also learn “how to stay calm when a hammerhead swims two feet above his face,” according to Discovery. That’s part of an educational excursion with the Bimini Shark Lab, whose staffers “dispel the myths and common misconceptions” about the predatory fish, which apparently didn’t include all the ways that racing them tends to be a losing proposition.
Of course, Phelps-related programming makes up just a small portion of “Shark Week.” Here are some titles to which viewers have to look forward:
- “Shark-Croc Showdown”
- “Alien Sharks: Stranger Fins”
- “Sharks and the City”
- “Lair of the Sawfish”
Sounds like some folks will be glued to their screens like so many remoras. As for Phelps, best of luck snatching victory from the Jaws of defeat!