Simone Biles Makes History as the Youngest to Receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Simone Biles continues to break records and make history. On July 7, the 25-year-old Olympian, along with 16 other honorees, received the esteemed Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honour – making her the youngest person to ever do so, according to President Joe Biden.
“To turn personal pain into a greater purpose, to stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
Beyond being a world-renowned gymnast, Biles was honoured as a “prominent advocate for athletes’ mental health and safety, children in the foster care system, and victims of sexual assault,” the White House previously announced.
“Today, [Biles] adds to her medal count of 32 – I don’t know if you’re going to find room,” President Biden joked during his remarks at the White House. Biden then praised Biles for her ability “to turn personal pain into a greater purpose, to stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.” During the award ceremony, Biles wore a bright smile as Biden placed her medal around her neck, and her fiancé, Jonathan Owens, was there to cheer her on from the front row.
Biles was honoured alongside other recipients like Megan Rapinoe and Denzel Washington, though the latter wasn’t present for the ceremony due to a positive COVID test, CNN reported. The actor will be awarded his medal at a later date.
Over the years, Biles has shattered glass ceilings in the sports world and become the most decorated gymnast in world championship history. Now, her latest accomplishment only solidifies that she’s a true trailblazer. Ahead, check out more photos of her receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House.