Sun, 01 Oct 2023

Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles and Megan Rapinoe are among 17 people who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, the White House announced Friday.

President Joe Biden is scheduled to present the medals in a ceremony on Thursday at the White House.

Biles, 25, has won a total of 32 world championship and Olympic medals, making her the most decorated American gymnast. She advocates for the mental health and safety of athletes, for foster children and for sexual-assault victims.

Rapinoe, who turns 37 next week, won an Olympic gold medal in 2012 and women's World Cup championships in 2015 and 2019. She is known as a champion for racial justice, LGBTQ issues and gender pay equality.

In a news release, the White House said the honorees were selected because they had "overcome significant obstacles to achieve impressive accomplishments in the arts and sciences, dedicated their lives to advocating for the most vulnerable among us, and acted with bravery to drive change in their communities -- and across the world -- while blazing trails for generations to come."

Other to be honored include actor Denzel Washington, former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and retired Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming. Being recognized posthumously are Sen. John McCain and Apple founder Steve Jobs.

--Field Level Media

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