Michael Phelps has faced a lot of fierce competitors, but a great white shark proved to be his most challenging opponent. The most decorated Olympian lost in his race against the beast to kick off Shark Week.
This match-up was almost as anticipated at the upcoming Floyd Mayweather versus Conor McGregor fight! Michael Phelps, 32, took on a great white shark in a 100 meter race to see if man could be nature in the creature’s own environment. He was at a pretty big disadvantage as sharks can swim up to 25 mph while his top speed in a pool is six mph. The most decorated Olympian of all time travelled all the way to Cape Town, South Africa to take on the creature in its own habitat of the Southern Indian Ocean.
Despite training with a mono-fin to mimic how a shark swims, Michael lost by a mere TWO SECONDS against the greatest swimmer in the ocean. The shark took the gold with 36 seconds, leaving his human competitor with silver at 38 seconds. Even with fancy enhancements like the fake fin and a special swimsuit that mimics the texture of the Great White’s skin, Michael couldn’t pull through.
Michael has 23 gold medals from racing in Olympic pools, but the open ocean proved to be a much more challenging environment. For one thing, it was MUCH colder than the water he’s used to swimming in, at a chilly 53 degrees. Even with a wet suit on, it still proved to be an obstacle for the champ. He ended up getting used to it by the time the race rolled around after training in the waters off Cape Town before taking on his ultimate challenger. Click here for more pics of Michael.
The race was a matter of numbers, as a 6’4″, 185 pound Michael was matched up against a competitor that was between 11-21 feet depending on gender and weighed up to 5,000 pounds. Now THAT is power! Not to mention the shark had home field advantage of being in it’s native habitat. Even his USA Swimming teammate Ryan Lochte, 32, didn’t think Michael stood a chance in hell of beating a shark at swimming.
Ultimately this was all about the spectacle and for the Olympic hero, a chance to realize a dream. “This has been something I’ve wanted to do my whole life,” he explained to Good Morning America on July 20. “This has been on my bucket list a long time and you know, being able to see these animals up close and personal in their own environment is something that was just such a treat.”
HollywoodLifers, are you surprised that the Great White won the race?