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Annika Sorenstam doesn't 'second-guess' Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump after Capitol attacks

Ryan Young
·3 min read
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Though Annika Sorenstam understands how bad the riots and insurrection at the U.S. Capitol were on Jan. 6, the World Golf Hall of Famer said she has no regrets about accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump the very next day.

Sorenstam, along with Gary Player, accepted the country’s highest civilian honor on Jan. 7 behind closed doors — something that didn’t sit well with many, considering the deadly, chaotic events that occurred less than 24 hours prior.

“Looking back, I don’t second-guess. I like to look forward, not spend energy on what could have been,” Sorenstam said Tuesday, via The Golf Channel. “It’s all about opening doors. That’s one thing I’ve learned. I’ve heard from a lot of people – you can imagine, a lot of opinions, a lot of comments. I hear clearly what those people say. I know they see it differently. But I listen and I embrace them all.”

‘I don’t want to spend any energy looking back’

Sorenstam and Player are just the latest in the sports world to receive the Medal of Freedom from Trump, joining Tiger Woods, wrestling icon Dan Gable and college football coach Lou Holtz, among others.

Given Sorenstam’s accomplishments in the sport, it’s easy to see why she was awarded the medal.

The Sweden native, who has since become an American citizen, won 72 times on the LPGA — including 10 major championships and back-to-back wins at the U.S. Women’s Open in 1995 and 1996. She became the first woman in the sport to shoot below 60 in 2001, and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2003.

It was the timing of the ceremony, however, that drew harsh condemnation.

A violent pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol less than 24 hours before Sorenstam received her medal in an effort to try and overturn the results of the Presidential election. Five people were killed in the attacks, including a Capitol Police officer — who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher.

The House of Representatives have since impeached Trump a second time over the insurrection, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said Tuesday that the mob was “provoked by the president and other powerful people,” per The New York Times.

Trump offered the medal of freedom to New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick after the Capitol attacks, too, though Belichick declined.

While she called Jan. 6 a “dark day in America’s history,” Sorenstam is just trying to move on.

“Well, I’m not one to second-guess,” Sorenstam said, via The Golf Channel. “It was supposed to be in March 2020, and looking back at it, it’s just really about the people who have received it through history. I don’t want to spend any energy looking back, I like to spend energy looking forward, continue to open doors, create opportunities for the young girls around the world.”

Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump just one day after the deadly attacks on the U.S. Capitol. (AP/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

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