Jumbo Shrimp’s Eddy Alvarez Chosen As US Team Olympic Flag Bearer
For Eddy Alvarez, the dream has come true.
Friday morning, he will carry the American flag in front of the world.
the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp Fielder will be the flag bearer for the US delegation to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, alongside veteran women’s basketball player Sue Bird, according to a report released on Wednesday by NBC, the US television rights holder for the Games.
It will be the first time that Team USA will have two flag bearers.
Alvarez, who made his major league debut in 2020 and is part of the Marlins’ system, blurted out on a conference call Saturday with reporters he was considered for the honor of being a flag bearer.
“I didn’t think this would be an opportunity for me,” said Alvarez, who is Cuban-American and raised in the Miami area. “This is a super big opportunity for me and my culture, to be able to represent my past and my people. To be able to potentially be the standard bearer, to hold Old Glory, a symbol of freedom and freedom for many in the world, not just in the US it means a lot, it’s very special.
Bird, 40, is a quadruple Olympic gold medalist who will compete in her fifth Games in Tokyo, where the US women’s team is heavily favored to win gold again. Alvarez, meanwhile, is on the U.S. baseball team, as the sport returns to the Olympics. It also has the unique distinction of participating in the Winter and Summer Games. Alvarez won a silver medal in speed skating at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.
Alvarez is trying to become only the sixth athlete and the third American to win medals at the Summer and Winter Games. He becomes the very first flag bearer linked to the Jacksonville area at the Olympics.
Only five athletes won medals at the Summer and Winter Games: the American Eddie Eagan (boxing in 1920, bobsleigh in 1932), the Norwegian Jacob Tullin Thams (ski jumping in 1924, sailing in 1936), the West German Christa Luding-Rothenburger (speed skating in 1984 and 1988, cycling in 1988), Canadian Clara Hughes (cycling in 1996, speed skating in 2002, 2006 and 2010) and American Lauryn Williams ( athletics in 2004 and 2012, bobsleigh in 2014).
Swimmer Michael Phelps was the American flag bearer at the last Summer Olympics in Rio in 2016.
This year, Alvarez has played 18 games for the Triple-A Jumbo Shrimp, with a .250 stick.
Clayton Freeman of The Times-Union contributed to this story.