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Eddy Alvarez will become 3rd American to medal in Summer, Winter Olympics

The former elite speed skater secured his rare Olympic double when Team USA defeated South Korea in the baseball semifinals on Thursday.

The United States defeated South Korea, 7-2, on the baseball diamond Thursday, clinching no worse than an American silver medal and securing a rare Olympic double for second baseman Eddy Alvarez.

A Miami native and former elite short-track speed skater, Alvarez will become just the third American to ever medal in both the Winter and Summer Games after Team USA punched its ticket to Saturday's matchup against Japan.

He's now a member of a remarkably unique U.S. club that only includes Eddie Eagan, a 1920 boxing boxing gold medalist and 1932 four-man bobsled champ, and Lauryn Williams, who won 2012 gold in the 4x100 relay and then 2014 silver in the two-man bobsled.

Alvarez was a member of the 5,000-meter relay team that captured silver in the 2014 Sochi games, shortly before trading in his blades for a glove and bat.

Alvarez has been toiling in the minor league systems of the Chicago White Sox and Miami Marlins organizations ever since. Before heading to Japan, Alvarez had been playing for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, Miami's triple-A affiliate. He made his Major League Baseball debut in last year's pandemic-shortened season.

He and American women’s basketball legend Sue Bird carried the U.S. flag at the Opening Ceremony two weeks ago.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony
Team USA flagbearers Sue Bird and Eddy Alvarez carry the USA flag during the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan. Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile via Getty Images

The 31-year-old has joked that baseball and speed skating have virtually no commonality, other than both requiring a series of left turns.

While baseball is a uniquely American game, winning Olympic medals in the national pastime has been far from a given for Team USA.

This is just the sixth time baseball has been a medal sport and the U.S. has won one gold (2020) and two bronze medals (1996 and 2008).

With the Olympics happening at the same time as the multibillion-dollar domestic baseball season, MLB has not stopped the season or allowed the game's best players to participate in the Tokyo Games, in a manner similar to professional hockey.

This U.S. team is comprised of minor leaguers allowed to play in the Olympics by their parent clubs, and veteran free agents looking to catch the eye of an MLB team. Team USA was one of the last teams to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

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