Jul 7, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Simone Biles becomes youngest Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient

President Biden presents gymnast Simone Biles with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, during a ceremony honoring 17 recipients on July 7. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. gymnast Simone Biles became the youngest person ever to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Thursday at 25 years of age.

Driving the news: President Joe Biden presented the nation's highest civilian honor to Biles and 16 other individuals, including former Rep. Gabby Giffords, the late Sen. John McCain and U.S. soccer player Megan Rapinoe.

What he's saying: Biles had the courage "to turn personal pain into greater purpose, to stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves," Biden noted in his speech.

  • "Today, she adds to her medal count — I don't know where you're going to find room — of 32 Olympic and World Championship medals," he added.

The other recipients of the Medal of Freedom included:

  • Sister Simone Campbell
  • Former university president Julieta García
  • Civil rights lawyer Fred Gray
  • Apple founder Steve Jobs
  • Father Alexander Karloutsos
  • Gold Star father Khizr Khan
  • New York critical care nurse Sandra Lindsay
  • Civil rights activist Diane Nash
  • Former Sen. Alan Simpson
  • Former AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
  • Brigadier General Wilma Vaught
  • Actor Denzel Washington
  • Civil rights advocate Raúl Yzaguirre.
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