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Celebration brewed in Phelps' hometown
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Celebration activities were prepared in Baltimore, Maryland, to welcome the return of a local hero, Michael Phelps, who just won the U.S. eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympic Games, local officials said on Monday.

"He's so big and so global now, I'm sure we'll try to top it," said Marjorie Hampson, a county spokeswoman.

She said that the celebration could be held on Aug. 30 to 31, but the date is still undecided.

A parade was staged four years ago after Phelps came back from the Athen Olympic games where he won six golds and two bronzs for his country.

But local officials said that they were considering the expansion of the parade since Phelps has added to 16 the number of medals, making him the most successful Olympian of all time.

It was reported that Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon would join the celebration.

Phelps started his athlete career at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club (NBAC), and continued to be trained there until after the 2004 Olympic Games.

The Michigan University graduate has bought a house in Baltimore, and he said that he would return with his coach, Bob Bowman, to the NBAC for training.

Phelps is set to return from China on Thursday.

(Xinhua News Agency August 19, 2008)

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