Two American athletes who have become icons in their respective sports are set to receive one of the highest civilian honors that the nation has to offer: The Presidential Medal of Freedom.
On Friday, the White House announced that President Joe Biden will award 17 Presidential Medals of Freedom in an upcoming ceremony. Among the people getting awarded are USWNT star Megan Rapinoe and Olympic gymnast Simone Biles.
Rapinoe is a two-time World Cup winner and an Olympic gold medalist. On top of being one of the most decorated stars in women's soccer, she is also an advocate for LGBT+ rights.
Biles is the most decorated Olympic gymnast the United States has ever had. She won 32 Olympic and world championship medals, including four gold medals at the 2016 Olympics in Tokyo. Biles is also an advocate for mental health, foster children and victims of assault.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded to civilians "for especially meritorious contribution to (1) the security or national interests of the United States, or (2) world peace, or (3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."
Some of the famous athletes who have received the medal include Tiger Woods, Jesse Owens, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Aaron, Bill Russell and Mariano Rivera among many others.
The other honorees receiving the award this month are Denzel Washington, Gabby Giffords, Steve Jobs, Richard Trumka, Alan Simpson, Simone Campbell, Julieta García, Alexander Karloutsos, Khizr Khan, Fred Gray, Sandra Lindsay, Diane Nash, Wilma Vaught and Raúl Yzaguirre.