Athlete, advocate, and native Texan Simone Biles was among 17 people to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, earlier this month.
A statement from the White House summarized the significance of the honor saying, “The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, 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.”
The statement went on to say, “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.”
With 32 Olympic and World Championship medals, Biles is the most decorated U.S. gymnast in history. She also made history in that she is now the youngest person to ever receive this honor. In addition to her athletic accomplishments, Biles has been “a prominent advocate for athletes’ mental health and safety, children in the foster care system, and victims of sexual assault.”
In his introduction President Biden said of Biles, “Simone Biles is the most decorated American gymnast in history. Everyone stops everything every time she was on camera…just to watch. When we see her compete, we see unmatched power and determination…grace and daring. A trailblazer and a role model… Today she adds to her medal count of 32…I don’t know how you’re going to find room.”
Congratulations to Simone Biles on this monumental accomplishment!