Simone Biles Just Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom: "I'm So Honored"

So, so deserved.

U.S. President Joe Biden presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Simone Biles, Olympic gold medal gymnast and mental health advocate, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House July 7, 2022 in Washington, DC. President Biden awarded the nation's highest civilian honor to 17 recipients. The award honors 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.
(Image credit: Photo by Alex Wong / Getty)

Simone Biles was just honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and it's honestly so deserved.

The Olympic gymnast, 25, is the youngest person to ever receive the Medal, though she's—obviously—no stranger to medals more generally, having totaled 32 Olympic and World Championship medals over the course of her career.

"Today, she adds to her medal count," President Biden said as he presented Biles with the award (via TIME). "I don’t know how you’re going to find room," he then quipped.

Acknowledging the Medal on Instagram, the athlete wrote, "Medal of Freedom

"I’m so honored & thankful to be recognized as a recipient by President Biden for this prestigious award. I still have no words. I’m shocked!"

The athlete's fiancé, Jonathan Owens, commented, "So proud of you baby ... what an amazing experience."

Former Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin told her, "proud of you."

According to the White House website, "The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, 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."

Biles received the honor for her contributions to U.S.A. gymnastics, of course, but also for her advocacy work in the fields of foster care (she was formerly a foster child herself), athletes' mental health, and helping survivors of sexual assault.

President Biden presented the Medal of Freedom to 16 other recipients, including soccer champion and activist Megan Rapinoe, Hollywood royalty Denzel Washington and, posthumously, Steve Jobs and John McCain.

Iris Goldsztajn
Iris Goldsztajn

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Bustle and Shape. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.