Joe Biden awards gymnast Simone Biles the Medal of Freedom for ‘absolute courage’

Gymnastics pioneer Simone Biles and two-time World Cup winner Megan Rapino were among 17 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday.
The United States’ highest civilian award is given to those who make a “particularly meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural, or other important public or private endeavours.”

Biles, America’s most decorated gymnast with 32 Olympic and world championship medals, performed gravity-defying exercises and became a wellness and mental health champion at the Tokyo Games.

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“When she stands on the podium, we see who she is: The absolute courage to turn personal pain into a big goal. get up

and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves,” Biden said.
The 25-year-old, the youngest recipient of the Freedom Medal, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that U.S. gymnastics and Olympic officials failed to stop sexual abuse of athletes by former physician Larry Nassar.

“Today she added to her medals – how will we find a place?” Mr Biden said.

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Rapinoe, a hot-tempered, pink-haired football leader on and off the field, won Olympic gold in 2012 and served as the lead advocate for gender pay equality in her national team’s legal dispute with their governing body.
“Meghan is a champion of the basic American truth: everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect,” Biden said.

Rapino received her medal for shaking hands and winking at Mr. Biden in a white jacket with the initials “BG” embroidered on the lapel, a nod to WNBA All-Star Britney Greener, who has been in Russian custody since February on drug charges. accusation.

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Other recipients included the late Senator John McCain, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, survivor of gun violence, and

gun violence prevention advocate and Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington.
McCain’s posthumous honorees included former AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka and Apple’s Steve Jobs. “I am the person who pushed John[McCain]to run for president,” Biden said. “I knew what incredible courage, intelligence and conscience he had.”

Honorees also included Sister Simone Campbell, former UT Brownsville President Julieta Garcia, Father Alexander Karloutsos, Gold Star Father Khizr Khan, Critical Care Nurse Sandra Lindsey, civil rights advocates Diane Nash and Fred Gray, former Senator Alan Simpson, Brigadier General Wilma . Vought and activist Raul Izaguirre.