The image of a Cuban flag on his ice skates accompanied Eddy Alvarez in the men’s short track 5 000 m relay in the 22nd edition of Winter Olympic Games that finish today in the Russian city of Sochi. The silver medal he got, along with his teammates Chris Creveling, Jordan Malone and J. R. Celsky, represented the second time in which a Cuban descendant athlete reaches the podium in these events, after Jennifer Rodríguez won two bronze medals in Salt Lake City 2002.
“The pressure had grown much … we do not go home empty handed and that’s wonderful,” Eddy said once the race had finished, where Russia won the title and third place went to the Chinese team. The problem is that the previous presentations of this 24 year old young man in Sochi, in the individual events, had been marked by bad luck. In the 1500 meters he was disqualified for a collision with an Italian skater; at 1000 meters he was downed by a Canadian athlete, and in the specialty for best previous performances (500 meters), bronze in 2013 World Cup, he slipped and had no options to move forward.
Even the semifinal also had its dose of drama when a spectacular crash occurred with the South Korean quartet, in which, after reviewing the video, the judges found that Asians were the culprits by committing interference.
Alvarez began skating on wheels since childhood and reached such skill that his parents were advised to insert him into the practice of ice skating , which he started at the age of seven. At some point he shared his passion for this sport with baseball. Upon completion of high school, he received a scholarship to play baseball at Saint Thomas University in Miami . By then he was focused on finding a place on the U.S. Olympic skating team that would participate in Vancouver 2010 Olympics. He did not achieve that goal, and the following year, he continued alternating both sports at a school in Utah, highlighting his role as shortstop.
In 2012 his future as athlete seemed to fade when undergoing surgery on both knees because of injuries that plagued his patellar tendon . After two months of total inactivity and complex recovery, he found the motivation to retake his romance with skates. The bronze medal in the 500 meter obtained in the World Cup circuit in 2013 was a clear sign of recovery. On January this year he attended the American trials towards Sochi, where he reached tickets to participate in the three individual distances, and also being part of the relay which won silver on Friday.
Eddy Alvarez assessed his performance as very positive in his debut at Winter Olympic Games. In Sochi he was all the time accompanied by his parents, both born in Cuba , who, at all times, have been the major drivers in his career.