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Phelps returns home, picks up foundation donation

Sept. 25, 2008, 1:27 p.m. (ET)

BALTIMORE(AP) Michael Phelps' long-awaited return home was little more than a stopover in a whirlwind journey that has been both tiring and exhilarating.

Returning to the pool where he honed his swimming skills, Phelps accepted a $250,000 donation Thursday from Kellogg's for his charitable foundation.

``I wanted to come back to Baltimore. I missed it,'' he said after accepting the grant. ``This is the place where I grew up and I started everything. I wanted to be back here, close to my family and close to my friends.''

There may come a time soon when Phelps can spend time at home reminiscing about his incredible performance at the Beijing Olympics, where he won a record-setting eight gold medals. But after arriving from Atlanta on Wednesday, he spent the night at a neighbor's house before preparing to leave again.

``Back on the road tonight or tomorrow,'' he said.

Phelps has been to so many places and met so many people that he often wakes up without a clue if it's a Friday or a Tuesday.

``I usually know where I am; I just don't know the date or what day of the week it is. Those are the two things I have trouble with keeping track of,'' he said.

In the aftermath of his trip to Beijing, Phelps has been to London, received a parade at Disney World in Florida, hosted Saturday Night Live and been a guest at the MTV Video Music Awards. He's met politicians, movie stars and athletes in other sports.

Asking Phelps to identify the most memorable moment is like making him choose his favorite gold medal (he owns an Olympic-record 14).

``It's weird. I can't really pick one,'' he said. ``When you do SNL or go to the VMAs and introduce Lil Wayne, or meeting all these basketball players, actresses and actors, it's something you never really realize what happened.

``It's just a roller coaster ride and I'm enjoying it. I've never been on a ride like this. I'm having fun, though. That's really all that matters.''

The news conference was held at Meadowbrook Aquatic Center, which he's negotiating to buy. He began training there when he was 7 years old.

``We're still in the process of seeing what's going to happen. We're playing it all my ear, taking it step by step,'' Phelps said. ``There's probably going to be some change over the next few weeks.''

Perhaps then he can actually make himself comfortable in his new multimillion dollar home.

``I'm working on getting some stuff into my house, and hopefully I'm going to have some normality in my life over the next few weeks,'' he said.

At the news conference, Kellogg Co. revealed that Phelps' photo will be featured on Frosted Flakes, Corn Flakes, Club Crackers and Rice Krispies treats.

Phelps had not seen his image on the products before they were unveiled in a ceremony at the pool. Seeing them for the first time, he smiled broadly and exclaimed, ``Awesome!''

He smiled again when presented the oversized check for The Michael Phelps Foundation, which promotes water safety and youth swimming. It got started with a $1 million bonus Phelps earned from another sponsor, Speedo, for his gold-medal haul.

Phelps intends to begin training for the 2012 Olympics in January or February. After he's done swimming, then what?

``I have no idea. I have four more years in my career and then I'm going to retire,'' he said. ``After that, I couldn't tell you.''