Simone Biles Becomes the Youngest Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

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Photo credit: Alex Wong - Getty Images
Photo credit: Alex Wong - Getty Images

Simone Biles is the most decorated gymnast in American history, with four Olympic Gold medals, one Silver, two Bronze, and a combined 25 World Championship titles. Now she has one more honor to add to her count. On July 7, the athlete was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. At 25 years old, she is the youngest recipient ever.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is given to those who have made immense, impactful contributions to the United States or the global community. Simone was recognized for her advocacy in “athletes’ mental health and safety, children in the foster care system, and victims of sexual assault,” per a statement from the White House.

She and 16 others, including professional soccer player Megan Rapinoe, were honored at the White House on Thursday. Following the ceremony, Simone took to Instagram to share a photo of her beaming smile as President Biden awarded her with the medal.

“Medal of Freedom 🎖I’m so honored & thankful to be recognized as a recipient by President Biden for this prestigious award,” she captioned the post. “I still have no words. I’m shocked!”

Simone’s fiancé, Jonathan Owens, also uploaded a photo from the ceremony, gushing over the athlete and activist and expressing how it was “a surreal experience” to watch her receive her medal.

“You’re one of the strongest people i know and are so deserving, I’m so blessed to be able to experience this with you. You motivate me more everyday to be the best version of myself,” he wrote in his caption.

During the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Simone withdrew from competition to protect and prioritize her mental health, and since then, has been open about her struggles and her confidence in making the decision to take a step back.

Congratulations, Simone! ❤️

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