Baseball player Eddy Alvarez will serve as a flag bearer for Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics.
The USA Baseball team member will carry the American flag alongside basketball player Sue Bird at the Opening Ceremony on July 23. Alvarez — an infielder in the Miami Marlins minor league system — is the first baseball player to carry the American flag for the Olympic delegation.
— Team USA (@TeamUSA) July 21, 2021
Although this will be Alvarez’s first time representing Team USA in baseball, he already knows what it is like to win an Olympic medal as he won silver as part of the 5,000-meter four-man short track speedskating team during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. When Alvarez, 31, was called up to the Marlins to make his MLB debut in 2020, he became the first Winter Olympic Games medalist to play Major League Baseball and the first non-baseball Olympian to play in the Majors since Jim Thorpe in 1913.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be named as one of the flag bearers by my fellow Team USA athletes for the Opening Ceremony,” Alvarez said, as recorded by MLB. “Being a first-generation Cuban American, my story represents the American Dream. My family has sacrificed so much for me to have the opportunity to wave this flag proudly.”
The Miami Herald added:
Three days earlier, Alvarez had said that simply having his name considered for being Team USA’s flag bearer — “to hold Old Glory, a symbol of freedom and liberty to many around the world, not just the United States” — was “a victory of its own.”
The five intertwined rings symbolic of the Olympics are tattooed on his left bicep and etched on the nob of his baseball bats. They’re a reminder of the opportunity afforded to him because of sacrifices from his parents, Walter and Mabel, who immigrated from Cuba.
“They got out for a chance at an opportunity and freedom,” Alvarez said. “Because of them, I’m able to put on this uniform and represent this country. Because of them, I’m able to basically have a freedom of speech.”
Alvarez’s selection to bear the American flag carries special significance as Cuba witnesses its largest protest movement in decades.
These protests were not about COVID. These protests were not about food shortages — Cuba has been dealing with food shortages forever, and COVID is spreading throughout the world.
These protests were about what the protesters said they were about — libertad, which means liberty.
The Cuban people want to live like Cubans live in Miami, and Tampa, and Orlando, and all over the United States and the world. They want to live free. They want to be able to pick their own leaders. They want to be able to work with their own hands and provide for their family.
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