Greg LeMond likely to receive Congressional Gold Medal

US cyclist Greg Lemond wearing the yellow jersey holds the trophy 22 July 1990 after winning the 21th stage of the 79th Tour de France cycling race between Bretigny and Paris AFP PHOTO Photo credit should read AFP via Getty Images
American Greg Lemond celebrates winning the yellow jersey and trophy at the 1990 Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

A year-long process to award three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond one of the highest civilian honours of the United States will come to a conclusion this week after the US Congress passed a bill to award LeMond the Congressional Gold Medal.

In 2019, the bill to award the medal to LeMond was initiated by Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) to honour the Lakewood, California-born cyclist for his accomplishments that include being the only American to win the Tour de France, and speaking out to 'champion healthy sport', being involved in 'numerous nonprofit causes, including healthy sport, assisting victims of sexual abuse and various childhood illnesses'.

Thompson's bill stated LeMond, "has demonstrated the commitment to excellence, generosity, community, and tenacity that makes him an example for all to follow."

The Congressional Gold Medal honours those "who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipient's field long after the achievement."

Only an act of Congress can award the medal and the bills must be co-sponsored by two thirds of the membership of both the House and the Senate before being considered for a vote, making it a rare honour. The only other athletes to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal are golfers Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, baseball players Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente and Larry Doby, football player Steve Gleason, track and field Olympian Jesse Owens, boxer Joe Louis and the 1980 Olympic Team who forfeited their place in the Moscow Games in the boycott after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

The bill passed on November 16 and was presented to President Trump for his signature on November 24. Unless it is vetoed, the medal will be awarded to LeMond even in the absence of a signature on December 5.

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