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Michael Phelps' Next Challenge: Racing A Great White Shark

By Karen Price | June 16, 2017, 6:48 p.m. (ET)

Michael Phelps swims in the men's 4x100-meter medley final at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships at Gold Coast Aquatics on Aug. 24, 2014 in Gold Coast, Australia.


The vast majority of people in the world are terrified of ending up in the water with a great white shark, hence the existence of more than one summer blockbuster based on that very scenario.

Michael Phelps, of course, is not like the vast majority of people in the world.

The 23-time Olympic gold medalist is set to “race” a great white during Shark Week in a show titled, “Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White.”

A news release promoting the annual television event’s programming said that Phelps had “one competition left to win” and promised “an event so monumental no one has ever attempted it before” as “the world’s most decorated athlete takes on the ocean’s most efficient predator.”

The release was short on details of exactly how the race will take place, although one would presume it won’t involve dropping Phelps and a great white into a pool and saying, “Go.”

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Phelps, who retired from competitive swimming following the Olympic Games Rio 2016, did post a photo to his Instagram of a cage next to a shark swimming just under the surface of the water with the caption, “I was able to do something that I had always wanted to do. Be in a cage and dive with great White sharks!! #bucketlist,” six days ago, as well as a photo of nearly 30 people on a boat captioned, “What a trip! Dream come true. Thanks y’all!!!” four days ago. 

Phelps will also be featured in another Shark Week program entitled, “Shark School with Michael Phelps,” in which he will learn about sharks from Doc Gruber and Tristan Guttridge of the Bimini Sharklab.

“They’ll dispel the myths and common misconceptions, teach him how to safely dive with sharks — including how to stay calm when a hammerhead swims two feet above his face — and will get Michael Phelps up close and personal with the incredible power of a great white,” according to the release.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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