Speed skater could win medal at summer OlympicsJul 21, 2021 04:35PM ● By Greg James
Eddy Alvarez, a former speed skater and SLCC baseball player was a member of the U.S. qualifying team for the Tokyo Olympics this summer. (Photo courtesy of USA baseball)
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An Olympic speed skating medalist, major league baseball player and a member of the United States Olympic qualifying baseball team. Eddy Alvarez is on top of the world.
As a member of the U.S. Olympic baseball team, Alvarez played in all four qualifier games and hit .273, had two doubles and a triple. He helped USA baseball secure a spot in the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Alvarez won a silver medal in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics as a member of the 5000 meter relay team. He was the first Cuban-American to be part of an Olympic team.
Only five athletes have won medals in the winter and summer games, including only two Americans, Eddy Eagan (boxing and bobsled) and Lauryn Williams (sprinter and bobsled).
If Alvarez is named and part of the Olympic baseball team he has the opportunity to be the third.
As a member of the Miami Marlins organization, Alvarez made his major league debut last season. He is currently playing with the Marlins AAA organization in Jacksonville, Flordia.
“The skating community has always been very supportive of my dreams,” Alvarez said last season after his initial major league game. “They did everything in their power to help me proceed.”
His first love was baseball. As a toddler his father would take him to the ballpark and he was mesmerized with the game.
He started rollerblading at five years old and speed skating at seven. At 11 he won a national level speed skating championship. In high school he played baseball well enough to earn several scholarship offers. He turned them down to pursue a skating career.
After years of chronic knee pain he decided to take a break from speed skating and joined the Salt Lake Community College baseball team as a walk-on. He batted .303 and was named all-conference. His knee pain continued and later had knee surgery before returning to speed skating as part of the 2014 Olympic team.
After the Olympics in 2014 he signed with the Chicago White Sox and spent six years in the minor leagues. He finally played a game in the majors in 2020. He got his first major league hit against the Mets.
“The ball from my first hit will go right next to my medal,” Alvarez said.
“Eddy is a good athlete,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said after his debut last season. “I expect him to be successful. He is well versed and has lots of experience.”
Team USA clinched a berth in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games June 5 with a 4-2 victory over Venezuela.
The six team Olympic baseball tournament is scheduled to begin Tuesday, July 27. The U.S. joins Israel, Japan, Korea and Mexico. The final team will be determined in a qualifying tournament June 22-26 (after press deadline).
The USA has qualified for all but one Olympic tournament since baseball was introduced as an Olympic sport in 1992. They won a gold medal once in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. They also won a gold in 1988 when baseball was a demonstration sport.