Michael Phelps to race a great white shark as part of Discovery Channel's 'Shark Week'

Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, will take on the 'ocean's most efficient predator'

Saturday 17 June 2017 12:43 BST
Michael Phelps in action at Rio 2016
Michael Phelps in action at Rio 2016 (Getty)

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


With 23 Olympic swimming gold medals to his name, Michael Phelps’ dominance in water is without parallel.

But the American is set to put this to the test when he races against one of Mother Nature’s fiercest predators.

Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, will take on a great white shark as part of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, which starts on 23 July.

The race, dubbed “Great Gold vs Great White”, will see the athlete take on the “ocean’s most efficient predator."

"They are one of the fastest and most efficient predators on the planet: Sharks," Discovery Channel said in a press release.

"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."

With a top speed of six miles per hour in the water, Phelps may struggle against a great white which can reach 25mph – but that won’t stop the American from giving it a shot.

The Maryland native announced his retirement after last year's Rio Olympics in August.

"Done, done, done – and this time I mean it,” he said. “I wanted to come back and finish my career how I wanted and this was the cherry on top of the cake."

Phelps took home five gold medals and one silver from Rio, taking his career medal haul to 28.

Man vs Nature

Long Jump: A red kangaroo has been recorded leaping 12.8 metres, compared with the 8.95 metres achieved by American Mike Powell in Tokyo in 1991.

High Jump: The same kangaroo's high jump of 3.1 metres easily outclasses the 2.45 metres managed by Cuban record holder Javier Sotomayor in 1993.

100m sprint: Usain Bolt's 2009 record-breaking 100 metre dash in 9.58 seconds saw him reach an estimated top speed of 27.45mph. But cheetahs have been known to run at 64mph - more than twice as fast.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in