Palmer awarded Congressional Gold Medal

Arnold Palmer, center, receives the Congressional Gold Medal from House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, left, during a ceremony in the Rotunda of the Capitol in Washington. At right is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

Arnold Palmer, center, receives the Congressional Gold Medal from House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, left, during a ceremony in the Rotunda of the Capitol in Washington. At right is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

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Two days after his 83rd birthday, Arnold Palmer became just the sixth athlete to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. He accepted the medal in a ceremony Sept. 12 at the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. President Barack Obama signed the act into law nearly three years ago.

“I am very humbled,” Palmer said after receiving the medal, which recognizes individuals who have made an impact in American history that will long remain a major achievement in the recipient’s field. The hardware features an image of Palmer during the follow-through of his golf swing, and on the back notes his 92 professional victories, including seven major championships.

In attendance for Wednesday’s presentation were Speaker of the House John Boehner of Ohio and Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, both Republicans; and Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada and Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, both Democrats. Palmer’s longtime friend Jack Nicklaus also attended. The House of Representatives already has taken steps to award Nicklaus the same medal by passing a bill supporting the measure.

As a recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal, Palmer joins an elite group that also includes baseball players Roberto Clemente and Jackie Robinson, track and field standout Jesse Owens, boxer Joe Louis and 1939 U.S. Open champion Byron Nelson, who received the honor posthumously in 2006.

Information from the USGA was used in this report

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