How many bong hits does it take to make racing a great white shark seem like a good idea?
This is just one of the many questions that have sprung to mind since learning that Michael Phelps, one of the most decorated athletes in the history of sports, is going to go toe to fin with a potential man-eater during a televised race called Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White.
It's slated to air at 8 p.m. PST on July 23 during the Discovery Channel's Shark Week.
Details regarding just how this is going to go down are being kept under wraps. But if you’ve seen the 1975 Steven Spielberg directed classic Jaws or any other shark movie worth its saltwater, then you know sharks can swim really, really fast.
Sure, Phelps won 23 Olympic gold medals and 28 total medals between 2004 and 2016, and now he serves as Arizona State University's assistant swim coach. He’s really fast in the water. But he wants to race Jabberjaw. Will this be live? Is there a chance he could lose a toe? Nobody is talking.
The lack of information about how this race will take place leaves a lot to the imagination.
We think Phelps needs a decent head start if he and the shark are racing in the same tank. Wouldn’t that be great? Talk about compelling TV. Phelps jumps in the water and starts swimming and the great white is behind a big iron gate. Perhaps a bag full of money should be waiting at the end for Phelps, but the real interest for viewers around the world be the look in the cold dead eyes of the shark as it made its way toward the bag of meat swimming ahead of it.
Petr Toman / Shutterstock.com
Can you attach a GoPro to a shark? We certainly hope so.
For Phelps, who we are sure is laughing his ass off about this whole thing every day, the challenge of racing a shark has got to be one of the only things left to keep his swimming career interesting. The guy pretty much kicked the ass of every person who ever tried to beat him, at least in his prime, but how many of them are known predators? If by some chance he beats the shark, what message will that send to the all those silver medalists who lost to Phelps in the Olympics? Will they realize they were racing a god?
If there is no chance that the great white can eat Phelps at the conclusion of the race, we're curious what the shark's motivation will be to race. If there is any justice in the world, there will be an 8-year-old on a yellow raft playing near the finish line of the shark’s lane or a black lab fetching a stick thrown by his owner on the beach. Yes, those are Jaws references, and they would make things entertaining. And no, we don’t really want anyone to get hurt.
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The more this race is linked to the uber-awesome film, Jaws, the better.
It’s sad that Roy Scheider who starred in the movie is not around to run frantically on the beach yelling at Phelps to swim faster. Perhaps, if the shark does eat Phelps, Richard Dreyfuss, who played marine biologist Matt Hooper in Jaws, could perform a live autopsy of the shark on camera.
Good luck, Michael Phelps. On behalf of Henry Winkler, who famously “jumped the shark” in an episode of Happy Days and created a whole new reference point for wild TV shenanigans, we thank you.