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May 3, 2024 4:41 pm

Katie Ledecky, Jim Thorpe receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

katie ledecky

A few months from from the 2024 Summer Olympics, a pair of notable American Olympians were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Friday by President Joe Biden.

Katie Ledecky, the winningest female swimmer in history, and Jim Thorpe, the first Native American to win Olympic gold, were among the 19 recipients of the highest civilian honor in the U.S. Thorpe died in 1953 and received the honor posthumously.

“These 19 Americans built teams, coalitions, movements, organizations, and businesses that shaped America for the better,” the White House’s announcement read. “They are the pinnacle of leadership in their fields. They consistently demonstrated over their careers the power of community, hard work, and science.”

Ledecky’s numerous records include her 16 individual gold medals and 26 overall medals at the World Aquatics Championships and her six individual Olympic gold medals. A seven-time Olympic gold medalist counting one team event in 2016, Ledecky is slated to compete in her fourth Olympics this summer in Paris.

A famed multi-sport athlete, Thorpe won gold in the Olympic decathlon and pentathlon in 1912 to become the first Native American to achieve the honor. He is in the Pro and College Football Halls of Fame and also played Major League Baseball.

Other recipients include former Vice President Al Gore, former Sen. John Kerry, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman in space.

–Field Level Media

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