Simone Biles and Megan Rapinoe receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Joe Biden
Simone Biles and Megan Rapinoe will be presented with the highest civilian honor in the United States in July. Biles and Rapinoe will be presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at an awards ceremony at the White House on July 8.
President Joe Biden will present the award to Biles and Rapinoe. They are the only athletes to receive the award this time. Other recipients include former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Steve Jobs and former US Senator John McCain. Jobs and McCain’s awards are presented posthumously.
Rapinoe becomes the first female soccer player to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She and Biles are among only six female athletes or coaches to have received the award.
Other athletes have received the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Biles and Rapinoe join a growing list of athletes to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Former President Donald Trump has recognized a handful of athletes and coaches for the honor during his presidency, including Bob Cousy, Lou Holtz, Mariano Rivera, Babe Ruth and Roger Staubach, among others.
The first recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom were selected by former President John F. Kennedy. These awards were presented by President Lyndon B. Johnson after Kennedy’s assassination. Kennedy’s list included longtime Yale swimming coach Robert JH Kiphuth.