Published On: Thu, Sep 13th, 2012

Arnold Palmer makes history as Congress awards golfer with Gold Medal

Arnold Palmer adds to his historic resume on Wednesday as the famous golfer accepted the Congressional Gold Medal, becoming just the sixth sportsman to receive the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress.

1990 photo Orlando Health

Palmer, who turned 83 on Monday, stood center stage before Congress on Wednesday to celebrate and honor Palmer’s philanthropy, which includes the Arnold Palmer Medical Center in Orlando.

“I’m particularly proud of anything that the House and Senate agree on,” Palmer joked with a crowd of Republicans and Democrats standing side by side during the ceremony.

“It’s humbling to realize that just six athletes have been [given] this gold medal award,” Palmer said. “I like to think and truly believe that golf and golfers promote some sort of human values that symbolize such characteristics as honesty, hard work, dedication, responsibility, respect for the other guy, playing by the rules. Kinda something we do in the game in golf.”

“I am very humbled,” he added. “Thank you very much.”

“Arnold Palmer democratized golf,” said House Speaker John Boehner, himself an avid golfer. “[He] made us think that we, too, could go out and play, made us think we could really do anything. All we had to do was go out and try.”

“He’s a golf icon to the world,” said Jack Nicklaus, who also participated in the ceremony. “And a good friend to me.”

The Congressional Gold Medal places Palmer in unique company in American History joined only five other recipients from sports. The other award winners from sports are Jackie Robinson, Jesse Owens, Joe Louis, Roberto Clemente, Byron Nelson and the 1980 US Summer Olympic team, who forfeited the Moscow games due to the United States boycott to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

The award began in 1776 with George Washington, then General Washington, who was honored by the Second Congressional Congress. Most of the earliest recipients were military figures, but the scope of the award expanded to include actors, authors, entertainers, musicians, pioneers in aeronautics and space, explorers, lifesavers, notables in science and medicine, athletes, humanitarians, public servants, and foreign recipients

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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