Simone Biles becomes youngest Medal of Freedom recipient

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Superstar gymnast Simone Biles received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Joe Biden on Thursday, becoming the youngest living person to be honoured.

Biles is the most decorated US gymnast in history, with 32 Olympic and world championship medals, and has also been an advocate for mental health and sexual assault survivors.

President Biden recognised her achievements both inside and outside the gym, as he awarded the 25-year-old yet another medal.

"When we see her compete, we see unmatched power and determination, grace and daring," Biden said.

"A trailblazer and a role model, when she stands on the podium, we see what she is: absolute courage to turn personal pain into a greater purpose, to stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.

"Today, she adds to her medal count of 32 – I don't know if you're going to find room."

In the same ceremony, Megan Rapinoe was the first footballer to be a recipient of this highest civilian award in the United States.

Rapinoe has won two Women's World Cups and an Olympic gold medal and has also been a prominent figure due to her activism.

The OL Reign captain has battled throughout her career for gender pay equality, racial justice and LGBTQ+ rights.

"Beyond the World Cup titles and the Olympic medals, Megan is a champion for [an] essential American truth that everyone – everyone – is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect," Biden said.

While Rapinoe was at the White House, her United States team-mates clinched qualification for the 2023 World Cup with a 5-0 win over Jamaica.

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