Simone Biles just earned another medal! The 25-year-old gymnast was honored in a special ceremony, where she was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, on Thursday, July 7. President Joe Biden celebrated Simone’s many athletic achievements, as well as her outstanding character, in a speech he gave about the honorees.
Pres. Biden listed Simone Biles’ numerous accomplishments, while highlighting her strength and ‘courage to turn personal pain into greater purpose,’ ahead of presenting the gymnast with the Medal of Freedom.
At 25, Biles will be the youngest person ever to receive the honor. pic.twitter.com/h4OMPzDUgv
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) July 7, 2022
Biden highlighted how inspiring Simone has been to so many Americans, showing what she represents to all her fans who have cheered her on. “The most decorated American gymnast in history, who everyone stops everything every time she was on camera just to watch,” the president said. “When we see her compete, we see unmatched power and determination, grace enduring. A trailblazer and a role model. When she stands on the podium, we see what she is: absolute courage, turned personal pain into a greater purpose, to stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
Besides being an all-star athlete, Biden also revealed that Simone set a new record by receiving the award as the youngest recipient for the Medal of Freedom. “Today she adds to her medal count of 32—I don’t know if we’re going to find room—32 Olympic and world championship medals. At age 25, the youngest person ever to receive the Medal of Freedom.
The gymnast had a major year in 2021. She took home a bronze medal for the balance beam while competing in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Team USA won the silver medal overall. Simone has one seven Olympic medals total, four of them gold.
Simone was one of 17 people to be given the award on Thursday, per ABC News. Other recipients included soccer star Megan Rapinoe, actor Denzel Washington, civil rights attorney Fred Gray, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee founder Diane Nash, former National Council of La Raza CEO and President Raúl Yzaguirre, Khizr Khan (whose son was a U.S. Army Captain killed in Iraq), General Wilma Vaught, priest Father Alexander Karloutsos, nurse Sandra Lindsay (who was the first person to receive the COVID vaccine), former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and late Senator John McCain, who received the honor posthumously. McCain’s widow Cindy accepted the award on her husband’s behalf.