Michael Phelps Defends Shark Race, Says Viewers Were Told What to Expect

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJuly 25, 2017

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, before the House Commerce Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on the international anti-doping system. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Susan Walsh/Associated Press

Michael Phelps said Tuesday he didn't have a problem with the way his race against a great white shark was hyped up since it was made clear before the event was broadcast that he wouldn't be dueling side-by-side with a live creature.

"Scott, you can believe whatever you want," Phelps said while answering questions on Facebook, per TMZ Sports. "Everything was either presented on air during multiple interviews that I did throughout Shark Week or the beginning of the show. Sorry you feel that way. For me, this is something I always wanted to do, and I was honored to be able to do it. ...

"Some people just decide not to listen to some of the things that we do, and that's not my fault that you don't do that. It's pretty easy to open up your ears and listen to either what the TV is saying, what announcers are saying or what I'm saying in interviews."

Fans' displeasure stemmed from the fact that Phelps raced a CGI shark, but as he mentioned Tuesday, it would have been impractical for things to proceed in any other fashion.

"It's hard to swim in a cage when you're next to a shark. Like, it wouldn't be able to move at the right speed. So how we did it was the best way that we could do it. And I thought it turned out incredible, again. I'm gonna say that for the rest of my life because I absolutely loved it."

So while Phelps lost the highly anticipated showdown by two seconds, the fact he was able to bring the spectacle to viewers in the first place seems to have been a big enough victory for the 23-time gold medalist this time around.