“Phelps vs. Shark” had viewers on the edge of their seat. The promos featured the five-time Olympian taking to the water to put it all on the line against a great white. And then Discovery pulled the rug out from under them.
The Discovery Channel had the race hyped as one for the ages:
— Shark Week (@SharkWeek) July 24, 2017
The race would supposedly involve a monstrous Great white shark and Olympic gold medalist, Michael Phelps. Needless to say, fans were psyched to witness Phelps take on (or get eaten by) the Great white:
YALL TODAY IS THE DAY. MICHAEL PHELPS WILL BE RACING A GREAT WHITE SHARK. 8PM. THIS IS GOING TO BE THE MOST INONIC MOMENT IN TV HISTORY.
— Tyler Kuiken (@Kuiiken) July 23, 2017
If you think I'm about to sit here for an hour and watch Michael phelps race a shark than you're absolutely correct
— Sydney Latour (@sydneymlatour) July 23, 2017
The one hour Shark Week finale highlighted Phelps’ superhuman swimming abilities and the swim speed of different sharks such as the reef shark and hammerhead. But during the final minutes leading up to the race, everyone realized they were robbed precious time after hearing the obvious:
“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.”
After Phelps lost to the virtual shark by two seconds, the enraged viewers took their emotions to Twitter:
— KP (@kpheland) July 24, 2017
honestly the shark week michael phelps race is the most disappointing thing to happen in 2017, and we have a carrot as a president….
— sophie alexandra (@theSOPHIETunion) July 24, 2017
— Ryan Homler (@RHomler) July 24, 2017
Me pretending to be ok with Michael Phelps not racing a real shark pic.twitter.com/QnCF98NfBB
— Gabi Palamone (@Yo_Gabi_Gabi__) July 24, 2017
Turns out “Michael Phelps races a shark” was really just “Michael Phelps swims alone and then compares his time to a shark’s time.”
— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) July 24, 2017
smh Michael Phelps isn't actually racing a shark. He's just racing a simulation of a shark. Biggest scam of 2017
— Marcus ¬ (@M_Frosti) July 24, 2017
— Breyanna Davis (@breyannachenal) July 24, 2017