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Jun 22, 2013
Tampa, FL
Nat Geo WILD will debut a never-before-seen race between two of the National Football League’s fastest athletes and nature’s fastest land mammal in the premiere of “Man v. Cheetah,” filmed at Busch Gardens® Tampa. Premiering tonight, Friday, Nov. 29 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Nat Geo WILD, “Man v. Cheetah” will kick off the Fourth Annual Big Cat Week for Nat Geo WILD, the network’s most-watched week.

Running back Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans and Chicago Bears' wide receiver Devin Hester raced two of Busch Gardens’ fastest cheetahs, Jenna and Nave, earlier this year in the park’s Cheetah Run habitat. For the challenge, Busch Gardens and Nat Geo WILD partnered to build a walled enclosure in Busch Gardens’ Cheetah habitat so the athletes and the cheetahs could run side-by-side safely.

According to NFL records, Chris Johnson is considered the fastest player in the NFL and Devin Hester holds the league’s all-time record for most kicks and punts returned for touchdowns.

During the race, park guests watched as the cheetahs dashed across their 220-foot sprint path for the race. The NFL athletes ran two different exercises on the other side of the safety wall. Johnson’s challenge was based on shear speed and included a back-and-forth stretch on the sprint path. Hester’s challenge highlighted his agility and required him and his cheetah competitor to run four lengths of the sprint, changing direction three times.
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Reactions: Hoopla and Zachary
So, I watched this. Not sure if anyone else did.

First off, they stretched it into an hour, when at best the show should have been 30 minutes. If you have yet to see it, plan on seeing the same shots over and over... and over... and over...

Second, the premise of the show was silly. The "race" concept is laughable at best. Early in the show they actually admit to how laughable it is - the cheetah doesn't know it's in a race. How fair of a comparison is it then?

Fun to watch the cheetahs run, if you've never seen them in person. Otherwise, the rest of it was pretty lame in my honest opinion.
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