Without an Olympics this summer and no other human being to beat in the pool, it seems only logical that Michael Phelps takes on one of the fastest and, just for fun, one of the most fearsome swimmers on the earth, namely the great white shark.
In what could possibly be described as Shark Week jumping the shark, the Discovery Channel announced that 23 time Olympic gold medal winner Phelps will race a great white shark as part of its popular summer series on July 23:
"They are one of the fastest and most efficient predators on the planet: Sharks. 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: Phelps V Shark – the race is on!"
According to ThoughtCo.com, sharks cruise around at around 5 mph, but great whites can reach top speeds of 25 mph — about "10 times faster than the typical human swimmer" when they are in attack mode.
One can only guess that Phelps is hoping against attack mode and won't be paddling for his life since the the Olympic chum, I mean champ, has only been clocked at a top speed of 6 mph.
But it's not like Phelps hasn't been training and researching his competition. Last week the 31-year-old went cage diving with some great whites hopefully to get a leg up and keep one out of his toothy rival's mouth:
The network is hyping this broadcast as a once in a lifetime event and is hoping their viewing audience bites.
But just in case you don't remember other "monumental" Man vs Beast competitions like Nat Geo Wild's Man vs Cheetah back in 2014 when a couple of NFL players raced a spotted speedster in separate enclosures which ended up about as exciting as watching the big cats napping at the zoo.
And speaking of dozing, there were high hopes in 2014 for the Discovery Channel's Man Gets Eaten Alive By An Anaconda which ultimately turned out to be one of TV's most laughable and epic fails.
Either way, real sports fans know a race doesn't count if the players don't compete on the same field of play, bumping shoulder to shoulder, leg to leg or, in this case, arm to fin.
I'm sure plenty of people will tune in to watch the colorfully named Phelps Vs. Shark: Great Gold Vs Great White. Just don't expect to see any red — especially in the accounting books.