SILVER SPRING, Md. — Michael Phelps and Discovery Channel were ripped in social media after they announced in the special program that the long-awaited race between the most decorated Olympic swimmer of all time and a great white shark was simulated.
Shark Week on the channel is one of Discovery Channel’s most hyped of the year, but in promoting the show and in the first two minutes of the program, it was said that Phelps would never swim against an actual shark.
Promotions included “Phelps vs. Shark” that advertised the race between the Olympian the the great white shark.
— Shark Week (@SharkWeek) July 24, 2017
More than 50 minutes into the hourlong show, ecologist Tristan Gutteridge said, “Clearly, we can’t put Michael in one lane and a white shark on the far lane. We’re gonna have to do a simulation.”
People on social media were quick to react with their anger.
So you mean to tell me Michael Phelps didn't even race a real shark? It was just a simulation. I'm mad. More like Shark WEAK! pic.twitter.com/gwIGTe7Y9p
— Frank Costa (@feistyfrank) July 24, 2017
— Luke Ward (@luke_ward99) July 24, 2017
— Maddie Marie Gladys Jones (@Maddie_Jones515) July 24, 2017
— SwimSwam (@swimswamnews) July 24, 2017
It's not lookin' good, Phelps pic.twitter.com/SzuUhzhGiU
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) July 24, 2017
When you find out that Michael Phelps isn't actually racing an actual shark pic.twitter.com/6KwHGaWXc9
— sweet t (@tatummowery) July 24, 2017
Michael Phelps not PHYSICALLY racing a shark but still having a tv special is equal to having a meeting when it coulda been an email :/
— MacKenzie Huneke (@Huenke) July 24, 2017
My favorite thing is that Michael Phelps literally could've beaten a shark if he didn't have to breathe.
— Morgan (@MorgsTheMermaid) July 24, 2017
After losing the simulation, Phelps was optimistic there would be a rematch.
— Michael Phelps (@MichaelPhelps) July 24, 2017
If that happens, Discovery Channel might want to find a real shark for a race.
I was hoping to see this! pic.twitter.com/SoRQS5Y2NP
— Got Instrumentals (@GotInstrumental) July 24, 2017
“In ‘Phelps vs. Shark,’ we enlisted world class scientists to take up the challenge of making the world’s greatest swimmer competitive with a Great White,” Discovery Channel spokeswoman Lauri Goldberg said in a statement.
“The show took smart science and technology to make the challenge more accessible and fun. All the promotion, interviews and the program itself made clear that the challenge wasn’t a side by side race. During Michael’s pre-show promotion, as well as within the first 2 minutes of ‘Phelps vs. Shark,’ this message was clear and we are thrilled with the audience and the engagement around the world.”