Eddy Alvarez, a first-generation Cuban American and Team USA baseball player, teared up talking about the honor of being selected as flag-bearer.
The 31-year-old shortstop for the Miami Marlins organization was captured in a video posted to the Team USA Twitter account, showing him tearing up as he talked about the “honor” of carrying the flag, mentioning how his “story represents the American Dream.” According to the New York Post, he was also the first baseball player to have the honor of holding the flag when leading the team into the opening ceremony in Tokyo.
PROUD JACKSONVILLE MOMENT ❤️: Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp infielder Eddy Alvarez was one of two flag bearers for the United States during the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics this morning. https://t.co/3yOYxrkY8f
(PHOTO: AP) pic.twitter.com/a4NZaSpxhr
— First Coast News (@FCN2go) July 23, 2021
“It means everything to me,” Alvarez said, giving a long pause while catching his breath.
“I owe so much to my parents, to my family,” he added.
“I came over to this country, so to be able to lead Team USA is an absolute honor,” he continued. “It was a lot of sacrifice I’ve had to make in this life in my athletic career so, I’m just absolutely incredibly honored, and what a privilege.”
— Team USA (@TeamUSA) July 23, 2021
Basketball player Sue Bird joined Alvarez to lead the American players into the ceremony on Friday.
The New York Post reported that Alvarez, who was miked up for the ceremony, said, “I am a little freaked out right now. … I am happy Sue is here to hold me up.”
Alvarez told the Post in a statement that it was an “honor and a privilege to be named as one of the flag bearers.”
“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,” Alvarez continued. “I am grateful for my time with US Speedskating and USA Baseball, as well as for all of my teammates, and I am humbled to lead Team USA into the Tokyo Olympic Games.”
Alvarez won a silver medal in the 5,000-meter short-track speed skating relay in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. He lost to Russia by less than three-tenths of a second, according to the Post.