Michael Phelps wants to make it clear about his Shark Week “race” with a great white.
“We’re not in the water at the same exact time,” he said on “Good Morning America” on Thursday, promoting his Sunday appearance on Discovery Channel. “That’s the thing we want everybody to know. I was safe, which is No. 1. I had, you know, 12 to 14 divers underneath me when we were doing the race and, you know, when you have an animal this size you want to be able to see how fast they swim and it’s tough to go into their territory and be able to switch as fast as they do, right?”
Phelps swam his leg, reportedly about 100 meters, with a monofin to increase his speed. Great whites can swim about five times as fast as Phelps, so he needed a boost.
That doesn’t mean Phelps didn’t have close encounters. He lay on the ocean floor and had a hammerhead swim within a foot of his face in his other Shark Week appearance on July 30.
In a Shark Week video clip (embedded below at the 30-second mark), a great white rattled a cage that contained Phelps. A full video of Phelps’ first cage dive with sharks is here.
“Her mouth kind of just clamped right down on one of the bars, but I basically sat down there for about an hour and just watched sharks just swim right past me,” he said.
Phelps may not be done with shark encounters. He told his wife about an ambition to free dive with a great white. No cage.
“She wasn’t too amused,” Phelps said on ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” radio show.
GenzebeDibaba, the 1500m world record holder, will miss the world track and field championships that start next week due to a right foot injury, according to her agency.
The Ethiopian Dibaba lowered the 1500m world record to 3:50.07 in 2015, then won the world title a month later. Kenyan Faith Kipyegon relegated her to silver at the Rio Olympics. Dibaba was last in the 12-woman final at the 2017 Worlds, then withdrew from the 5000m at that meet, citing illness.
Dibaba’s absence further opens the door for Americans Shelby Houlihan (second-fastest in the world last year) and Jenny Simpson, the Olympic bronze medalist and 2017 World silver medalist.
Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan is fastest in the world this year and broke the mile world record on July 12. Hassan has range from 800m through 10,000m, and it’s not guaranteed she will contest the 1500m in Doha starting with the first round Oct. 2.
The event is already lacking Caster Semenya, the two-time Olympic 800m champion who took bronze in her world 1500m debut in 2017. Semenya is excluded from races from 400m through the mile under the IAAF’s new rule capping testosterone in those events.
The U.S. International Figure Skating Classic gets underway in Salt Lake City, Utah this weekend and NBC Sports Gold’s “Figure Skating Pass” will be live streaming all of the action.
The event is the third stop of the ISU’s Challenger Series and often serves as a warm-up for Grand Prix events for skaters, which start in October.
The men’s field is headlined by world bronze medalist and 2018 Olympian Vincent Zhou, joined by the 2019 world junior bronze medalist in the ladies’ event, Ting Cui. Reigning U.S. pairs champions Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc will make their season debut in Salt Lake. And in ice dance, Four Continents gold medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates are slated to compete.
As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.