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Michael Phelps to race an actual shark

United States Michael Phelps acknowledges the crowd after his team won gold in the men's 4 x 100-meter medley relay final during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
United States Michael Phelps acknowledges the crowd after his team won gold in the men's 4 x 100-meter medley relay final during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. AP Photo - Rebecca Blackwell

Michael Phelps's sharklike instincts powered the American to a record 23 Olympic swimming gold medals, but how would he fare against an actual shark?

That's the question the Discovery Channel television program "Shark Week" wants to answer when Phelps appears in July's season-opening episode "Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White".

Details of how the showdown will work are scarce, but the media release is already causing quite the frenzy.

"The world's most decorated athlete takes on the ocean's most efficient predator: Phelps V Shark - the race is on!" a Discovery Channel release promises.

"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! Produced by Peacock Productions."

Phelps confessed his love of Sharks in a YouTube video released this week.

"We just got off a plane from South Africa yesterday, we were down there for about a week," he said. "That one was fun, doing some stuff with Shark Week and for me, sharks are like my number one favourite animal in the world, being able to see them face-to-face was pretty cool."

The 31-year-old will also appear in the "Shark Week" finale, attending "Shark School" with experts who will enlighten the Olympic great and TV viewers on how to safely dive with sharks, "including how to stay calm when a hammerhead swims two feet above his face".

What a trip!!! Dream come true. Thanks y'all!!!

A post shared by Michael Phelps (@m_phelps00) on

Social media obviously had a field day with this one.

News Corp Australia

Topics:  editors picks michael phelps sharks