UPDATE: Biles received the highest civilian honor in the nation on Thursday, July 7 at a ceremony hosted by President Joe Biden.
Biles was praised for her crusades for women and for mental health: “With absolute courage and honesty, she expands the legacy of our greatest champions who challenge the powerful and speak up for justice and the wellness of body and mind,” her introduction noted. (Note: This headline has been updated to reflect the news.)
Medals are nothing new to Houston’s Greatest of All Time Simone Biles, given that the most decorated American gymnast in history boasts 32 of the Olympic and world varieties. But this new one might be especially sweet for our G.O.A.T.
Biles will be one of 17 Americans to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Joe Biden. The awards, which are considered the highest civilian honor in the nation, will be presented at the White House on July 7, according to a White House press release.
Joining Biles on the prestigious list is fellow Olympic gold medalist and two-time Women’s World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe. Other distinguished recipients include Denzel Washington, Steve Jobs, and Senator John McCain.
The award is given to “individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavors,” notes the release. Biden, in the statement adds that the 17 recipients also “demonstrate the power of possibilities and embody the soul of the nation – hard work, perseverance, and faith.”
Notably, NBC Sports notes that Biles, who is 25, shatters Tiger Woods’ record as the youngest athlete to receive the honor. He was 43 when he received the award in 2019.
A fierce advocate for mental health and sexual abuse victims, Biles scored a bronze medal despite her globally watched challenges in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games and is engaged to Houston Texans safety Jonathan Owens.
She also launched a clothing line with athleisure brand Athleta and was named Time Magazine’s 2021 Athlete of the Year and also to Time’s Most Influential People list. She also recently landed on the cover of Wheaties boxes everywhere.