President Joe Biden awards Simone Biles with the Medal of Freedom

Biden Is Giving Medals Of Freedom To Simone Biles, Megan Rapinoe, And More Stars

These Olympians are adding some new medals to their collections.

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On July 7, President Joe Biden will present 17 individuals with the highest civilian honor one can receive: the Medal of Freedom. This will mark Biden’s first time giving out the prestigious honor, and he’s selected some very notable recipients. According to the White House, the Medal of Freedom is “presented to individuals 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.” All of that is to say that this award goes to the best of the best, and this year’s recipients are definitely well-deserved. Among the list are names like Simone Biles, Gabrielle Giffords, and Megan Rapinoe, and past recipients are Stephen Hawking, Meryl Streep, and Tom Hanks.

The Medal of Freedom was first bestowed in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy and has since been received by 647 notable Americans. After two years in office, Biden has finally announced the list of people he will confer the medal onto, and it includes Olympians, activists, religious clergy, and a beloved actor. Olympian soccer star Megan Rapinoe earnestly expressed her gratitude for the award and how she felt after speaking to President Joe Biden: “I am humbled and truly honored to be chosen for this award by President Biden and feel as inspired and motivated as ever to continue this long history of fighting for the freedoms of all people. To quote Emma Lazarus, ‘Until we are all free, we are none of us free’.” Rapinoe’s win makes history as the first female soccer athlete to accept the Medal of Freedom.


Simone Biles will receive the award for her talent and bravery in standing up to Larry Nassar, former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor, in 2018. She has since taken the stand to testify against Nassar and has been applauded for her resilience.

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords will receive the Medal of Freedom for her activism in advocating for safer firearm control. In 2011, Giffords was a victim of an assassination attempt, to which she was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery for a bullet wound in her head. She has since healed and has become an influential force in the fight for stronger firearm control.


Denzel Washington is another recipient for his longstanding career entertaining fans in movies like Malcolm X and Fences. The White House notes: “He has also served as National Spokesman for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for over 25 years.” The Boys & Girls Clubs of America provides after-school programs and enrichment for children.

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Some of the medals will also be bestowed posthumously to late politician John McCain and Apple founder Steve Jobs. A complete list of recipients can be found on the official White House website.