Discovery Channel announced today that Michael Phelps is going to be racing a great white shark during Shark Week on Sunday, July 23rd. This is, of course, an absurd spectacle. It feels like something Twitter will get behind that evening. While it may not be an event that you’re gonna plan your whole weekend around to make sure you’re in front of a television, if you’re home you know you’ll wind up getting sucked in.
But right now we’re left wondering: What does this even entail?
Discovery’s press release is kinda vague:
They are one of the fastest and most efficient predators on the planet: Sharks. He is our greatest champion to ever get in the water: Michael Phelps. 39 world records. 23 Olympic golds. But he has one competition left to win. An event so monumental no one has ever attempted it before. The world’s most decorated athlete takes on the ocean’s most efficient predator: Phelps V Shark – the race is on!
What are the parameters of this race? There’s no way they’re gonna be in the same body of water, right? Like, I presume there’s no way Phelps can die? How will the shark even know it’s racing? What’s in it for “it”? How do we judge who wins? How much is Phelps getting paid for this? Probably over a million bucks, no? Does this mark the moment that Shark Week jumps the shark?
I’ve reached out to Discovery for answers and will update this post if they get back.