Phelps loses to great white shark in virtual race

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Olympic great Michael Phelps was edged by a great white shark in a virtual race aired on Discovery on Sunday.

The world's most decorated athlete took on the ocean's most efficient predator in a television special as Discovery kicked off its 29th edition of Shark Week.

Phelps, the 23-time Olympic gold medallist, wore a specially designed suit and mono fin in South African waters.

The American did not even use his arms as he 'dolphin-kicked' his way to a time of 38.1 seconds in a 100-metre open water swim.

But it was not enough as he raced against a virtual shark side-by-side based on separate 50m time trials.

The shark swam a time of 36.1secs in the 100m race, handing Phelps a rare loss.