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Simone Biles has become the youngest person in history to receive America's Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The 25-year-old Olympic gymnast added another medal to her extensive collection when she picked up the honour from President Joe Biden on Friday (07.07.22) with the White House confirming she was selected for her accomplishments in gymnastics as well as her advocacy for mental health and victims of sexual assault.
Speaking at the ceremony in Washington, DC, Simone told reporters: "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 honour.
"I'm excited to be here especially with my family, my agents (and) all the other recipients. So, it was an exciting morning."
She added that the honour "shines a light" on gymnastics after the sport went through a dark time following the conviction of U.S. Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar on charges of criminal sexual conduct.
Simone added: "It's so incredible. We've had kind of a cloud over it the last couple of years so to put some sunshine feels good."
When asked what message she'd like to send to young women, Simone replied: "To just speak up, use your platforms. Be authentic to yourself, and stay true to yourself and just go out there and have fun in whatever your adventure is."
She went on: "You can do anything you put your mind to."
Simone can now look forward to the future as she's busy planning her wedding to NFL star Jonathan Owens. They have set a date for their big day - revealing they will tie the knot in 2023. The Olympic medallist got engaged to Jonathan, 26, back in February after almost 18 months of dating.