Twitter blasted Michael Phelps and Discovery Channel after they announced in their hour-long special that the long-awaited race between the most decorated swimmer of all time and a Great White shark was simulated.
Discovery Channel’s Shark Week is one of the network’s most hyped weeks of the year, and this year was no different.
The headlines read: ‘Phelps vs. Shark,’ advertising a race between the Olympian and a Great White in promos and on social media.
The moment of glory for #TeamShark!!! #PhelpsVsShark #SharkWeek pic.twitter.com/NWYp1CwiRa
— Shark Week (@SharkWeek) July 24, 2017
If you watched the special, you might have felt like you wasted your time.
More than 50 minutes into the hour-long special, 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.”
The people of Twitter were upset.
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
That feeling when Michael Phelps races a simulation and not an actual shark#PhelpsVsShark pic.twitter.com/3E126VxWvF
— Luke Ward (@luke_ward99) July 24, 2017
After a night of getting blasted on Twitter and losing to a shark simulation, Phelps was pretty optimistic that he and the shark would meet again for a rematch.
Rematch? Next time..warmer water. #SW30 @Discovery @SharkWeek
— Michael Phelps (@MichaelPhelps) July 24, 2017
Based on the Twitter reactions, if a rematch is in the future, Discovery Channel might want to figure out a way to have Phelps race an actual shark.
I was hoping to see this! pic.twitter.com/SoRQS5Y2NP
— Got Instrumentals (@GotInstrumental) July 24, 2017
Laurie Goldberg, Group EVP of PR for Discovery, Animal Planet and Science, released the following statement:
“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. 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.”