As per a statement from the White House, the award is said to be “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,” listing Biles and Rapinoe’s notable achievements.
Biles – Olympic gold medalist and most decorated American gymnast in history – is going to become the youngest athlete to receive the honor, at 25. The White House said Biles is a “prominent advocate for athletes’ mental health and safety, children in the foster care system, and victims of sexual assault.”
Rapinoe – also an Olympic gold medalist and two-time Women’s World Cup champion – is presently the captain of OL Reign in the National Women’s Soccer League. “She is a prominent advocate for gender pay equality, racial justice, and LGBTQI+ rights,” the White House wrote.