Ryan Lochte Said He’d Race a ‘Real’ Shark

LochteOlympic gold medal swimmer Ryan Lochte says he’d race against a shark.

But, he added at an opening day TV Critics Association event Tuesday that “I would race a real shark.”

He was referring to fellow medalist Michael Phelps’ much-ballyhooed race against a shark that kicked off this year’s Shark Week Sunday on Discovery.

Viewers Sunday were surprised to learn he didn’t race a shark at all in the special, but simply did a solo timed run and compared it to a shark’s time. The resulting race involved a computer-generated fish (and an unrealistically close finish, since sharks general swim five time faster than man).

Lochte, for his part, has been retained by Nat Geo Wild for its competing Sharkfest event this week, appearing in promos — and a TCA lunch.

“It was entertaining,” Lochte said of Phelps’ Discovery stunt. “But if it was me I would definitely want to race a real shark. I wouldn’t want to race a big CG shark.”

The reason Lochte was available at all to schmooze with the press at a Beverly Hilton courtyard was that he was banned from the World Swimming Championships currently occurring in Budapest, stemming from his own dim stunt last year — claiming he was held up at a Brazilian gas station when actually he and three fellow swimmers had vandalized the place. He got a 10 month suspension from the sport, meaning the next world championship qualifier he’d be allowed to compete would be in 2019, when he’d be 35.

But he knew he’d be a loser if he got in a tank with a shark.

“Us swimmers, we don’t swim that fast in the water so it’s hard to try to race a shark who only swims like 26 miles per hour and you only swim like 2,” he says. “That doesn’t quite add up.”


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