Listen to this article here
Sign-Up for a free subscription to The Black Wall Street Times‘ daily newsletter, Black Editors’ Edition (BEE) – our curated news selections & opinions by us for you.
Simone Biles became the youngest person ever to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom when she was given the award Thursday by President Joe Biden.
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,” said The White House.
The previous record was held by Tiger Woods, who was 43 when he received the honor in 2019. Biles is almost half Woods’ age at 25-years-old.
Biles is the most decorated American gymnast in history, with a combined total of 32 Olympic and World Championship medals. Biles is also a prominent advocate for athletes’ mental health and safety, children in the foster care system, and victims of sexual assault.
Biles’ 2022 has been filled with more rings, despite not competing, after she became engaged to Houston Texans Safety Jonathan Owens.
Simone Biles posted several pictures of the proposal to her instagram on February 15, confirming the pair’s engagement – and her excitement over the prospect of marrying Jonathan Owens. She wrote, “THE EASIEST YES. I can’t wait to spend forever & ever with you, you’re everything I dreamed of and more!”
Is there anything left for Simone Biles to accomplish?
Biles is best known for her gymnastics prowess, as part of the 2020 United States Olympic gymnastics team that won the silver medal. The 2016 team, of which she was also a part, won gold.
But aside from her team achievements, Simone Biles is a gymnastics phenomenon on her own as well. She holds the record for most World medals and most World gold medals. Biles also has the most World all-around titles.
In 2020, Biles was praised for withdrawing from several competitions to focus on her mental well-being. She confirmed that she takes time to address her whole-body health, not just her physical means.
Biles is a spokesperson for the mental wellness app Cerebral, which she credits with helping her through difficult times. She has said, “Getting the mental health therapy that I need has been really relieving for me, especially being on the road and on tour. I’m happy to have such a great app to help out with that.”