Recently, Michael Phelps faced off against one of the ocean’s deadliest creatures. As the opening segment for Shark Week on Discovery, Phelps took to the water to see if he could swim faster than a shark.
The televised experiment was hyped up for weeks. Many viewers assumed Michael Phelps would actually be swimming next to a shark. However, there was no possible way producers could allow that to happen and still keep Michael safe.
Tristan Gutteridge, one the scientists on the program, told viewers what would really happen. "Clearly, we can't put Michael in one lane and a white shark in the far lane," he explained. "We're going to have to do a simulation."
Instead, scientists used data derived from real sharks as a way to create a computerized shark that they could edit into the film. This way, Phelps would be completely safe but they would still be able to determine if he could beat the shark in a swimming race.
Many viewers were extremely disappointed to learn the news of a CGI shark. Some took to social media to bash Phelps, and Shark Week, for over exaggerating what was to occur.
Since the outrage, Michael Phelps has taken to social media himself to defend the experiment and offer his take on swimming with a real shark. The network also defended their decisions for the segment and backed up Phelps.
"Everybody wants to pick on something or say something or complain about something, so I had fun racing a shark and seeing those animals up close and personal. If somebody actually wants to get in the water and race side-by-side with a great white, go ahead. You're not going to get the shark to swim in a straight line. And, uh, yeah, it would be interesting to see," Phelps said. "We'll leave it at that."
Phelps also continued by saying, "You can believe whatever you want. Everything was either present on-air during multiple interviews that I did throughout Shark Week or the beginning of the show. Sorry you feel that way. For me, it was something I'd always wanted to do. I was honored to be able to do it. So, I'm sorry that you feel that way. I feel very different."
What do you think about this? Did you tune in and watch it? To see the incredible footage that left us stunned in our seats, read our other story here and watch it for yourself!