Breaking news: Michael Phelps is beatable.

But if you're now thinking you can dominate the greatest Olympic swimmer of all time, first make sure you're a shark.


Phelps raced a great white, hammerhead and reef shark during Sunday night's "Phelps vs. Shark: The Battle for Ocean Supremacy" special on Discovery Channel. Well, he actually raced a simulation of the sharks' fastest estimated times that were calculated through most of the show's hour.

While the Baltimore native finished second in the opening race, beating the reef shark and trailing the hammerhead, Phelps proved no match in the main event against the great white.

Michael Phelps falls to great white shark in TV race

Michael Phelps met his match Sunday night. His match wasn't human.

Of course, the great white had home-water advantage in the freezing cold South Atlantic Ocean — I would like to see how he matches up against Phelps in a chlorinated pool with thousands of fans cheering in the stands — yet his two-second margin of victory left no doubt that fish are still better swimmers than humans.

That doesn’t detract from Phelps’ record 28 Olympic medals, but it did spark a flurry of social media attention for his daring-attempt-turned-rare-defeat.

The Wall Street Journal, for one, was decidedly #TeamShark — or should it be #TeamLarry?

"Fred the Shark" got a byline in the business-focused international publication to stand up for his friend's overlooked identity.

"The Discovery Channel narrator kept saying Phelps was racing a computer generated shark, but Discovery can bite me. I know Great Whites and that was Larry."

Fred also asked another important question: Did Larry get paid? He's convinced Phelps profited and should share his wealth with the winner.

The New York Daily News, meanwhile, took offense with the hour-long episode when the so-called race that was essentially Phelps next to a cartoon took less than 40 seconds to complete: "The shark has jumped Michael Phelps."

SB Nation, however, was a fan, noting Phelps' special wetsuit and fin gave the Olympic great more speed and added intrigue to the race.

The results varied on Twitter, too:

Phelps retired from swimming after six medals in Rio, but he can't end on a loss, right?

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