Simone Biles Becomes Youngest Person to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

Simone Biles received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Joe Biden on July 7. Learn why the Olympic gymnast finds the honor "kind of scary."

By Kelly Gilmore Jul 08, 2022 1:43 AMTags
Watch: Olympic Gymnast Simone Biles Is Engaged: See Her Ring!

Simone Biles just added a new type of medal to her collection.

The Olympic champion was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Joe Biden on July 7. And while Simone has made history before by becoming the most decorated American gymnast of all time, the 25-year old just made history once again by becoming the youngest person to ever receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Reflecting on this milestone, Simone noted that it's "a huge honor" to accomplish so early on.

"It's kind of scary because it is the best award you can receive for your whole life so now it's kind of scary like, 'Oh, what do I do now?' But it's a huge honor," she told reporters at the White House. "I'm excited to be here especially with my family, my agents [and] all the other recipients. So, it was an exciting morning."

According to The White House, Simone was selected to receive the Nation's highest civilian honor amongst 16 other individuals for her history-making accomplishments in gymnastics, as well as her advocacy work for the mental health and safety of athletes; children who are in the foster care system; and victims of sexual assault.

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Back in 2018, Simone came forward as a survivor of sexual abuse against former U.S. Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar. That same year, Nassar pleaded guilty to seven counts of felony first-degree criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced up to 175 years in prison.

Simone said that receiving the honor from Biden "shines a good light" on gymnastics.

"It's so incredible," she said of her sport. "We've had kind of a cloud over it the last couple of years so to put some sunshine feels good."


SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

As for sending a message to young women across the country, the Olympic medalist said this achievement will prove "you can do anything you put your mind to."

"And to just speak up, use your platforms," she added. "Be authentic to yourself, and stay true to yourself and just go out there and have fun in whatever your adventure is."

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