Jul 1, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Simone Biles and Gabby Giffords are among Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients

Simone Biles at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

U.S. gymnast Simone Biles and former Rep. Gabby Giffords are among the named recipients to be awarded the President Medal of Freedom, the White House announced on Friday.

The big picture: The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation's highest civilian honor.

Driving the news: Biles and Giffords were named alongside 15 other recipients 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."

  • U.S. soccer player Megan Rapinoe and actor Denzel Washington will also be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Apple founder Steve Jobs and Sen. John McCain will both receive the medal posthumously.

What they're saying: "President Biden has long said that America can be defined by one word: possibilities," the White House said in a press release. "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."

What's next: The recipients will receive their medals at the White House on July 7.

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