What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?
We’ll never know that one, but we do now know the outcome of a swimming ‘race’ between Michael Phelps and a great white shark.
Well, kind of.
Michael Phelps swam a 100m stretch of Bahamas water in 38.1 seconds, but lost out by two seconds to the shark swimming the same course.
He was equipped with a wetsuit and monofin to mimic a shark’s movement through water, but in the end had to contend with silver.
The much hyped ‘race’ aired on Sunday night as a premiere to Discovery Channel’s Shark Week.
Discovery has been hosting the program since 1988 to draw in summer audiences and raise awareness about shark attacks and conservation.
This year’s premier drew a large ratings share as Phelps was pitted against his most ferocious rival yet.
The race was actually a simulation, and Phelps was in fact competing against a computer-generated image of a shark based on a projection of its speed. He completed the course in 38.1 seconds compared to the shark’s time of 36.1.
Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, with a total of 28 medals. In a career spanning four summer Olympics, he pushed the envelope of what is physically possible in a swimming pool, winning an unprecedented 23 gold medals.
He won eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, breaking fellow American swimmer Mark Spitz's 1972 record of seven first-place finishes at a single Olympic Games.
At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Phelps won four gold and two silver medals, and at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, he won five gold medals and one silver medal. This made him the most successful athlete of the Games for the fourth Olympics in a row.
Watch Phelps race a shark below.
Following the 2016 Olympics, he retired from professional swimming, but is still game for events that bring the sport to limelight.
“I don’t like taking silver medals, but I’ll take one to a great white,” he said during the Discovery program.
He later tweeted - “Rematch? Next time.. Warmer water.”
We’re definitely ready for the next edition, would be even better if the opponent was not a simulation.
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