The late computer genius Steve Jobs, actor Denzel Washington, and gymnastics sensation Simone Biles have all been nominated as winners of the nation’s highest civilian distinction, the White House announced on Friday.
17 Americans, including three deceased recipients, were chosen by President Joe Biden to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The medal honors “exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, to the maintenance of international peace, or to other noteworthy societal, public, or private undertakings,” according to the White House.
One of the honorees is Megan Rapinoe, a gold-medal-winning Olympic soccer player, two-time Women’s World Cup champion, and outspoken supporter of equality, racial justice, and LGBTQ rights.
The White House noted that people being honored had “overcome significant hurdles… and acted with bravery to inspire change in their communities—and across the world—while blazing trails for generations to come” prior to a ceremony on July 7.
John McCain, a former Republican presidential candidate, longtime senator from Arizona, and Purple Heart medal from the Vietnam War, is one posthumous recipient this year.
Former winners of the presidential medal include Hollywood actor Robert De Niro, Motown singer Diana Ross, and basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.