Megan Rapinoe and Simone Biles were two of the civilian recipients for this year's Presidential Medal of Freedom. It's significant, really, for a few reasons.
Sports figures are no longer just athletic robots, programmed to perform at the highest level for your entertainment. Athletes are advocates, they're activists, they're real humans, and we need humanity more than ever right now.
Megan Rapinoe led two major movements over the last three years, a black lives matter protest before each match, originally inspired years earlier by Collin Kaepernick kneeling for the anthem, and was also instrumental in earning equal pay for the US Women's National Team.
Simone Biles walked away from the world's biggest stage to shed light on the darker conversation of mental health, all while being thrust into the spotlight of a sexual assault trial.
It's crucial that we honor those who walk tallest in the most challenging moments, but it's also important to consider those who are behind the curtains lifting them up.
Megan could not have accomplished equal pay without the rest of her team or without standing on the shoulders of the 1999 National Team.
Next to Simone on the stands was Maggie Nichols, or Athlete "A" as she was known in the trial, who never even made it to the Olympics due to rampant abuse from team doctor Larry Nassar.
Behind every great woman--are more great women. Sometimes they're recognized with an award, but more times than not, they're just there, cheering and supporting until the bigger fight has been won.