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Cyclist LeMond, Reagan Trade Jersey, Jelly Beans

August 01, 1986|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Greg LeMond, winner of the world's premier bicycle race, met with President Reagan today and said later he was happy that "I'm finally getting some recognition for what I do."

The 25-year-old from Lakewood, Calif., the first non-European to win the 2,500-mile Tour de France, was accompanied to the Oval Office by his wife, Kathy, and their son, Jeffrey, 2 1/2. Jeffrey, suffering from jet lag, was "kind of a grump" and pushed aside Reagan's hand as the President introduced himself, LeMond said.

The cyclist presented Reagan with a yellow jersey from the award ceremony, and in return received a presidential jar of jelly beans, a book marker and a mug.

LeMond, asked about his own politics, sidestepped the issue, describing himself as a sportsman and an athlete. "I have to really watch myself in Europe for that," he said.

"There are a lot of political groups (in Europe) that are very critical about Americans and . . . as an athlete I'm very vulnerable and you kind of have to watch what you do," he said.

Calling his meeting with the President "probably my highest award yet," LeMond said publicity about his victory last Sunday and his White House meeting could only help promote bicycling in America.

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