By Levi Rickert
Mills is a tribal member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe is the only American to win the gold medal in the 10,000 meters. Billy Mills' win in the 10,000 meters is considered one of the greatest upsets in Olympic history.
He is one of 18 people who will receive the Presidential Citizens Medal. Each year some 6,000 applications are received by the White House for consideration to receive the Medal.
“It is my distinguished honor to award these individuals the 2012 Citizens Medal for their commitment to public service,” said President Obama.
Comment: For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies. Below: "Billy Mills, 1964 Olympic Gold Medalist, with Shawndiin Church in 2012."
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At 75, Billy Mills Takes Another Prestigious Gold Medal
The first big medal for athlete Billy Mills came in 1964 at the Tokyo Olympics, when he unexpectedly won gold in the 10,000 meter run. He is the only American to ever accomplish this feat, just the second Native American to win an Olympic gold medal, and, being what he describes as “a borderline diabetic” who was hypoglycemic at the time, he was an underdog’s underdog going into the race.
Almost 50 years later, he was awarded another important medal, this time by President Barack Obama at the Presidential Citizens Medal ceremony at the White House on February 15. The award, established in 1969, is the second-highest civilian honor in the United States, intended to recognize individuals “who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens,” according to the White House. Nearly 6,000 people were nominated this time around for the award, and Mills was one of 18 honorees this year.
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