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Debbie Phelps, Michael's Mom, on the Olympics, Heart Health and Challenging Her Son in the Pool


There is one strong mom cheering from the stands when 16-time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps dives into the pool. Debbie Phelps was an athlete in her own right in high school and still enjoys keeping fit. And as a Subway Famous Fan, alongside her son, Debbie enjoys supplementing all that action with a healthy diet. "I love my milk, veggies and protein, but have to have a little bit of ice cream! It's all about moderation," Phelps says, with a laugh.

We caught up with the mom of three on Wednesday right before she walked in The Heart Truth's Red Dress Collection Fashion Show in New York City to learn more about her first trip down the runway and whether she'd ever challenge her son to a lap race.

How does it feel to be a model?

Walking in a fashion show has been an item on my bucket list, but I never thought I'd have the opportunity. I feel elegant and sophisticated in the beautifully-beaded Adrianna Papell dress.

Do you ever exercise with Michael?

No way! As Michael's mom, I feel that the safest place for me is not in the pool. I gravitate to the treadmill and StairMaster upstairs! I'm not afraid of the water but when I was growing up, the pool was a place for fun, not competition.

How are you and Michael feeling about the upcoming Olympic Games in London this summer?

It feels like we were just in Beijing! We're so excited. It is bittersweet and emotional, though, that his goggles and Speedo will be hung up after the London Games. Michael has brought awareness to the sport and has shown such drive and dedication. We hope to take our grandchildren with us to watch.

If you could participate in any Olympic sport, which would you choose and why?

In high school, I was on the track and field team, so I'd go out there and run a fast 100 meters! My dad was an avid sports fan and built a bamboo stake high jump in our backyard.

You're a new Subway Famous Fan. What's your go-to order?

I love the selection, freshness and the fact that I can go into a Subway no matter where I am and find a perfect sandwich. For something light and reminiscent of a picnic, I go for the Orchard Chicken Salad on whole-wheat bread. And of course I grab Sun Chips at the end!

With Diet Coke, the presenting sponsor of The Heart Truth's Red Dress Collection Fashion Show, Subway will donate $1 (up to $50,000) for every person who shares a picture of their hands making a heart symbol on Twitter or Instagram (use the tag #SUBWAYHeartTruth). For more details, click here.