WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- When President Obama hosted a group of African heads of state at The White House this week for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, one of the invited guests for dinner was NASCAR star Jeff Gordon.
The veteran driver danced with his wife next to the Obamas, which he later called "probably one of the coolest things Ingrid and I have ever had the opportunity to do at the White House." What the four-time premier series champion didn't count on was getting a request to breakdance from the executive branch.
"The President asked me to breakdance, but unfortunately, it wasn't the proper music playing," Gordon said Friday at Watkins Glen International. "And he also suggested right after that, that it probably wasn't wise of me to do that with being in the middle or getting toward the end of our season ... and I agreed with him."
Gordon wowed the crowd with his dance skills in 2011 at the "NASCAR After the Lap" portion of Champion's Week in Las Vegas. He opted against reprising his series of leg spins wearing cocktail attire in front of the first couple.
But if anyone had the power to change the music to something more suitable, the President would, right?
"He didn't," Gordon said with a smile. "I was very thankful he didn't."
Gordon's presence was an acknowledgement of his family's humanitarian efforts in Rwanda, where he helped to open a cancer center two years ago. Gordon's philanthropic efforts have also contributed to the fight against senior hunger through his partnership with AARP, which announced Friday an extension to sponsorship of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 that Gordon drives.
"Very fortunate to get an invite. I think the work that we're doing in Rwanda had a big influence on that," Gordon said. "It was great. I got an opportunity to shake hands and meet the president of Rwanda, President (Paul) Kagame, and that was a first for me and it was important. What an incredible event just to be a part of. Ingrid and I felt very, very fortunate to be there."
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