I know it's considered passe, but how can you help but love Michael Phelps


and his mom

Debbie Phelps had no problem agreeing to the intense training regimen that Bowman proposed when her son was 11. She is personally conservative, someone who says she believes that a child with free time will tend to find bad things to fill it with. Even now, whenever it is suggested to her that Michael may have ''missed'' something, she reacts incredulously. ''Like what?'' she said to me at one point. ''Like he missed some of the things that teenagers get into in this country? I don't feel bad about that. There was always a balance. He went to basketball games. He went to football games. He had friends. He was a normal kid. But he always came home early and got his sleep and went to practice the next day.''