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Can Michael Phelps Beat a Great White Shark?

If you think Michael Phelps can swim faster than a Great White Shark, you’re in a minority. But you also stand to make a little money if your prediction is correct. Bovada has posted odds on the anticipated Sunday night race between Phelps and a Great White. The shark is a big favorite at -550. Phelps is +325. But on the surface Phelps doesn’t have a chance. So the producers of the show have given him a few advantages.

Phelps has been given a special Lunocet swim fin, which will nearly double his speed. Still, that would just put him at 12 miles-per-hour. Great Whites can reach speeds of 25 mph.

Phelps’ Olympic teammate and a 12-time medal winner himself, Ryan Lochte, didn’t think too highly of his buddy’s odds for success against the Great White.

“Hell, no,” he replied when asked if Phelps could win.

Michael Phelps isn’t the only athlete to compete against animals. The most famous is likely Jesse Owens, who used to race horses in springs. And usually win since the horse was momentarily startled by the starting gun. Then there is Jim Thorpe’s famous wrestling match against a circus bear after he had a bit too much to drink one night.

Phelps will have plenty of safety divers in the water with him to provide a distraction if necessary. Just in case the shark decides it has more than swimming on its mind.

While Great Whites can reach 25 mph, those are short bursts. A better prediction is that the shark can go about 15 to 17 mph over the course of 100 meters. The shark will also not swim in a straight line. There should be some zig-zagging which will work in Phelps’ favor. But will it be enough? We’ll have to tune into the Discovery Channel on Sunday night to find out.

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