The Discovery Channel special, called “Phelps vs. Shark,” aired Sunday for the premiere of its annual Shark Week, happening now through Aug. 8. Fans of both the 28-time Olympic gold medalist and sharks were glued to their TVs, waiting to see the main event: Phelps going up against a Great White Shark.
The special included the Olympic golden boy’s stunned reaction to a simulation of a speedy shark besting Olympic swimmers. The GIF of his facial expression alone deserves to rule the Internet.
The catch? Phelps was racing computerized sharks, including the preliminary 50-meter races against a reef and hammerhead shark. (He lost that second one.) The CGI simulations were created from real data on sharks. And even though Phelps and scientist Tristan Gutteridge stressed beforehand that the Olympian would not be competing with actual sharks in open water, some online were disappointed to learn the finned adversaries were digitally rendered.
One user was more upset that Phelps wasn’t competing with a mako shark.
Despite a custom wet suit and a helpful single fin to keep his feet locked together, Phelps was two seconds slower than the computer-simulated Great White: 36.1 to 38.1, respectively.
Still, it’s an admirable time and both Twitter users and Phelps are ready for a rematch.
- The Case for Mediocrity
- How Russia Is Recruiting Cubans to Fight in Ukraine
- Paul Hollywood Answers All of Your Questions About The Great British Baking Show
- Meet the 2023 TIME100 Next: the Emerging Leaders Shaping the World
- Oprah and Arthur C. Brooks: How to Separate Work From Your Identity
- How Canada and India's Relationship Crumbled
- You Don’t Have to Like Wrestling to Love Netflix’s Excellent Wrestlers
- The Most Anticipated Books, Movies, TV, and Music of Fall 2023
- Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time