Mr. Gordon goes to Washington

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Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon attended the Africa Leaders Summit at the White House -- and no, break dancing was not included in the program.

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Jeff Gordon’s reach goes well beyond sports.

On Tuesday, Gordon and wife Ingrid visited the White House as part of the Africa Leaders Summit Dinner.

“I was very fortunate to get an invite,” said Gordon, who turned 43 on Monday. “I think the work we’re doing in Rwanda had a big influence on that. I got the opportunity to shake hands and meet with the President of Rwanda (Paul) Kagame – that was important for me.

“What an incredible event to be a part of. Ingrid and I felt very, very fortunate to be there. It was great to see the President and Mrs. Obama for short period. We even danced next to them on the dance floor – which is probably one of the coolest things that Ingrid and I had the opportunity to do at the White House. It was really special."

The soiree comes two years after Gordon visited Rwanda, along with former President Bill Clinton and Partners in Health, for the opening of the Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence – the first comprehensive cancer care center of its kind in East Africa.

As part of the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation, the four-time NASCAR champion donated $1.5 million for the hospital in Rwanda.

“We’re always looking at what more we can do to help – especially help kids that don’t either have access to treatment or how we can give them better treatment and that’s not just here in the U.S. Yes, we’re fighting hard to find cures for the really rare diseases that are here and better long-term treatments. That’s why we support the research.

“But in Rwanda, kids aren’t even getting access to it. Because of our efforts at Butaro Hospital – children as well as adults – are getting quality cancer care and that’s something that I’m really proud of.

“I want to do more of it. And it’s a great country to do that kind of work in. Hopefully, it can expand to other countries in Africa.”

We’re always looking at what more we can do to help – especially help kids that don’t either have access to treatment or how we can give them better treatment and that’s not just here in the U.S.

Jeff Gordon

As for Gordon’s ability to bust a move, unfortunately, he did not have the opportunity to display his break dancing talents – although it did come up in conversation with President Obama.

“The President asked me to break dance,” Gordon said with a chuckle. “But unfortunately, it wasn’t the proper music playing. He also suggested right after that, that it probably wasn’t wise of me to do that with me being in the middle or getting towards the end of our season – and I agreed with him.”

Lionel Richie was the musical guest.

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Drivers Jeff Gordon
Article type Breaking news
Tags bill clinton, jeff gordon foundation, partners in health, president obama, rwanda