Simone Biles can’t stop making history. Biles, who made headlines when she prioritized her mental health at the Tokyo Olympics, is the most decorated American gymnast in history (with a staggering combined total of 32 Olympic and World Championship medals). She’s also an advocate for athletes’ mental health and safety, victims of sexual assault and children in the foster care system. And now, at 25 years old, Biles is the youngest person to ever receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, according to US President Joe Biden.
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On July 7, Biles was among 17 recipients of America’s highest civilian honour. During his remarks at the White House awards ceremony, Popsugar reports that President Biden joked about Biles adding the medal to her already impressive collection: “Today, [Biles] adds to her medal count of 32 — I don’t know if you’re going to find room,” he said. Biden also praised Biles’ ability “to turn personal pain into a greater purpose, to stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
The Olympic gold medalist, who announced her engagement to athlete Jonathan Owens earlier this year, has previously shared her own experience as a toddler in foster care.
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According to a White House press release, Biles and the other medal recipients (including soccer champion and LGBTQ2S+ rights advocate Megan Rapione and actor Denzel Washington) “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.”
We’d say Biles stuck the landing with this one.
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