There wasn’t a shot in hell I was losing

I had to post this one immediately as it is fresh from Rio. Michael Phelps was talking about his on his win in the 200m butterfly: ‘There wasn’t a shot in hell I was losing’ .  This is a mash up of “shot in the dark” (a wild guess or attempt) and “snowball’s chance in hell” (no chance at all).  Perhaps “shot to hell” (worn out or ruined) might have also been on the speaker’s mind as both words appear in the malaphor, but since it has very little to do with the context, I doubt it.  “A cold day in hell” (an impossible event) may also have been on Michael’s mind, as he clearly believed (and rightly so) that he was not going to be beaten in that event.  Here is the link to his interview:

A big thanks to Gerry Abbott for his keen ears in hearing this one and passing it on!

Enjoying the Olympics?  Pair those events with the malaphor book, He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors, where an entire chapter is devoted to sports malaphors just like the one above.  Check it out on Amazon at

michael phelps


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