Aug 29, 2008

Lifestyle - Phelps living the good life back in America

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Record-setting swimmer Michael Phelps has satisfied some of his hunger for Americana since returning to the United States from his Olympic triumphs in China but has one special rendezvous he is looking forward to.
Phelps, who touched down on Wednesday after winning an unparalleled eight gold medals in the pool in Beijing, has already chatted with Tiger Woods, done the rounds of morning TV chat shows and sampled some quintessential cuisine.
"It's a good feeling to be back on American soil," Phelps said on Thursday at a presentation of a grant to fund a Manhattan YMCA's second grade swimming program.
"I haven't been back 24 hours but it's funny. Today at lunchtime, I said 'I'm kind of hungry' and we passed a hot dog stand on the corner and some pretzels," he said.
"How much more American can you get? I grabbed a hot dog, a drink and a hot pretzel. It feels good to be back."
Phelps has already done some hobnobbing, had his photographic portrait hung in the National Gallery and has more of the celebrity life lined up.
"I was at the launch of Tiger's new (video golf) game last night. Being able to talk to him just for a little bit. He was saying how proud he was, congratulations," said Phelps, who joked about how he could use lessons to help his golf.
A week from Saturday he will host the season-opening edition of the Saturday Night Live TV comedy show.
"It's going to be interesting. I hope I'm literally not a fish out of water on that one," said Phelps. "I'm already getting a hard time from some of my friends about it."
Phelps said he was looking forward to getting home after the preparations and competition in Beijing, where he broke swimmer Mark Spitz's record for most gold medals at an Olympics to become one of the world's best-known sports figures.
"Once I get back to Baltimore I want to see my dog. I miss the little guy," Phelps said about his white and black English bulldog named Herman, who he has not seen in a few months.
"I'm just hoping he remembers me when I see him."
(Editing by John O'Callaghan)

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