Simone Biles, Megan Rapinoe join Olympians to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

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Simone Biles and Megan Rapinoe will become the latest Olympians to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

President Joe Biden named 17 recipients of the honor on Friday, also including Steve JobsJohn McCain and Denzel Washington. They will be awarded the medals next Thursday.

The medal is “presented to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavors,” according to the White House. “President Biden has long said that America can be defined by one word: possibilities. These seventeen Americans demonstrate the power of possibilities and embody the soul of the nation – hard work, perseverance, and faith. They have 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.”

The White House noted that Biles, in addition to her gymnastics accolades, “is also a prominent advocate for athletes’ mental health and safety, children in the foster care system, and victims of sexual assault.”

Rapinoe, an Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion, is a prominent advocate for gender pay equality, racial justice and LGBTQI+ rights.

They join a long list of Olympians to receive the honor, including Jesse OwensMuhammad Ali and Pat Summitt.

It will mark the fourth consecutive year that at least one Olympian receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom after Jerry West in 2019, Dan Gable and Jim Ryun in 2020 and Babe Didrikson Zaharias posthumously in 2021.

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Simone Biles, Megan Rapinoe join Olympians to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom originally appeared on NBCSports.com