Home » Simone Biles and Megan Rapinoe receive Presidential Medal of Freedom from Joe Biden | News News

Simone Biles and Megan Rapinoe receive Presidential Medal of Freedom from Joe Biden | News News

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America’s greatest gymnast Simone Biles and two-time World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe are awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Joe Biden; President Biden hails the “absolute courage” of Biles as well as Rapinoe’s campaign for equality as they receive USA’s highest civilian honour

Last Updated: 07/07/22 10:12pm

President Joe Biden awards the nation’s highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to gymnast Simone Biles (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)

Simone Biles and Megan Rapinoe were awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House on Thursday.

President Joe Biden presented Biles, America’s most successful gymnast, and star footballer Rapinoe, a two-time World Cup champion, with the honour along with 17 other recipients.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest US civilian award, given to those who make an “especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavours”.

Simone Biles has also won 32 Olympic and world championships medals. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Simone Biles has also won 32 Olympic and world championships medals. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

With a combined 32 Olympic and world championships medals, Biles is the most decorated gymnast in American sports history. She also campaigns on issues that have affected her life, including athletes’ mental health, children in foster care and for sexual assault victims.

“When she stands on a podium, we see what she is: absolute courage to turn personal pain into greater purpose. To stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves,” President Biden said.

At 25 years old, she is now the youngest Medal of Freedom honouree too.

“Today she adds to her medal count – how are we going to find room?” Biden said.

Rapinoe, an Olympic gold medallist in 2012, has championed gender pay equality, taking a leading role in her national team’s legal dispute with their governing body.

President Joe Biden shakes hands with Megan Rapinoe before presenting her with the Medal of Freedom (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)

President Joe Biden shakes hands with Megan Rapinoe before presenting her with the Medal of Freedom (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)

“Megan is a champion for essential American truth: that everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect,” Biden said.

Rapinoe received her medal with a handshake and wink to Biden, in a white suit jacket with the initials “BG” embroidered on the lapel, seeming to highlight the case of WNBA All Star Brittney Griner, who has been detained in Russia since February.

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