Associate Editor

The Inertia

In a world rife with click bait, viewers of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week on Sunday were left wanting after the network pulled the television equivalent. Call it shark bait.

What was billed as a 100m race between a ferocious man-eating great white shark, and the greatest human swimmer of all time (Michael Phelps), manifested itself as Phelps swimming in the ocean alongside a crude CGI great white. Phelps lost by two seconds, which was to be expected as much as the contrived dramatic music tried to build up the suspense.

Not to discount Phelps’ achievement. As we mentioned before, to give the swimmer an edge he was outfitted with a special wetsuit and a monofin. This reduced his time from a personal best of 47.51 seconds to 38.1 seconds.

While no self-respecting network would actually put a 28-time Olympic medalist and national treasure in the ocean with a great white shark and zero precaution, viewers were understandably disappointed and took to social media to air their frustration.

“Michael Phelps has been hyping up that he’s going to race a shark for months now. He did it tonight and it was a damn CGI shark,” said Cole Hill.

Some were left asking for the movers and shakers at the network to be held accountable for this ilk:

Others just wanted to know they weren’t the only ones out there to fall for the ol’ bait and switch.

You’re not alone, Joe.

It didn’t help that Phelps prepared for the race by cage diving to get up close and personal with actual great whites. “Being able to get in the water with these guys where I’m literally face-to-face with some of the most majestic creatures you’ve ever seen, that was a treat,” he said. “I was literally within a foot of multiple massive sharks. That, you know, could be scary at times, but for me it was a dream come true.”

You got us hook, line, and sinker, Phelpsy.



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