Is Michael Phelps -- now the most decorated Olympian in history, with 21 total medals and one final shot in a Saturday evening race -- ready to settle down with a nice young lady once his last Olympics are over?
"There's only one person who knows that, and that's the man upstairs," his mother Debbie mused to Us Friday at a Subway in London. "I think he's going to enjoy himself these next couple of years and just unwind."
(Phelps' teammate and rival Michael Lochte's mom Ike sparked a mini-media frenzy when she quipped that the breakout swimmer only has time for "one night stands"; Lochte himself later told Us the quote was "taken out of context.")
With both Phelps and Lochte medaling in the current Games, Debbie poo-poo'd talk of a rivalry between the two young men. "Both boys are from the east coast," surmised Debbie. (She and Michael are "Subway Famous Fans."). "Michael and Ryan always raced, so it's nothing that's abnormal . . .they're enjoying what they're doing together."
While 27-year-old Michael told Us in London that he's looking forward to trying out snowboarding and skiing, his mother predicts fans will see him in . . . soccer cleats? "I think he'll get on the international soccer circuit," Debbi said. "He loves the big world stage."
As for her son's truly historic medal record? "I just want all three of my children to enjoy their lives and be able to set goals for themselves, to be able to achieve as many as they could," she explained. "Michael set his goals and I never knew what they were. It was always between he and his coach, but I knew the goals were being set and they were obtainable. He really worked so hard to obtain what he set out to do."
But the poignancy of the London Games -- his very last Olympics -- aren't lost on his proud mom. "I'm appreciating the swims that he does, because they're his last ones . . . There is not an 'again.'"
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This article originally appeared on Usmagazine.com: Michael Phelps Will Just "Enjoy Himself" for Next Few Years, Says Mom Debbie Phelps