Simone Biles and Megan Rapinoe received the Presidential Medal of Freedom Thursday. The honor was awarded to them by President Joe Biden.
They are the fifth and sixth women athletes to receive the honor.
The award is given out by the president to those 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.”
Rapinoe, a two-time World Cup winner and Olympic gold medalist, didn’t miss the opportunity to highlight Brittney Griner, showing up in a white blazer that had Griner’s initials embroidered onto it.
Megan Rapinoe will be receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House today. BG’s initials are embroidered on her blazer for the world to see 💜 pic.twitter.com/jpy998cXy1— Phoenix Mercury (@PhoenixMercury) July 7, 2022
Megan Rapinoe will be receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House today. BG’s initials are embroidered on her blazer for the world to see 💜 pic.twitter.com/jpy998cXy1
One of the most accomplished soccer players ever, Rapinoe is the first soccer player to receive the award.
“Beyond the World Cup titles and Olympic medals is a champion for essential American truth – that everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect,” Biden said in his speech. “She helped lead the change for perhaps the most important victory for anyone on her soccer team, or any soccer team, equal pay for women.”
During Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony, Pres. Biden says soccer star Megan Rapinoe is a “champion for essential American truth—that everyone, everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.” https://t.co/Dbq3JeCRaA pic.twitter.com/6A6MbIQpYw— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) July 7, 2022
During Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony, Pres. Biden says soccer star Megan Rapinoe is a “champion for essential American truth—that everyone, everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.” https://t.co/Dbq3JeCRaA pic.twitter.com/6A6MbIQpYw
Biles is the youngest person ever to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and Biden characterized the Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast as someone with “so much more to give.”
“When we see her compete, we see unmatched power and determination, grace and daring,” he said. “A trailblazer and a role model, when she stands on the podium we see what she is: absolute courage. She turned personal pain into a greater purpose: to stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
Biden then joked that he doesn’t know “how you’re going to find room” amidst Biles’ world and Olympic medals, which total 34. The most decorated gymnast in U.S. history, the 25-year-old is also a “prominent advocate for athletes’ mental health and safety, children in the foster care system, and victims of sexual assault.”
- @Simone_Biles receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom pic.twitter.com/MiGCjVHPcj— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) July 7, 2022
- @Simone_Biles receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom pic.twitter.com/MiGCjVHPcj
The duo joined the likes of Denzel Washington, former U.S. Senator John McCain, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in being honored Thursday.