By Mike Cugno

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The summer Olympic games are officially underway in Tokyo, but here in South Florida, proud family and friends of Eddy Alvarez gathered in Doral to watch the Miami native and baseball player carry the American flag for Team U.S.A.

The League of Excellence gym where Eddy trains was packed with support bright and early on Friday morning.

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Eddy’s brother Nick, dad Walter and mom Mabel watch with pride as he becomes the first baseball player to carry the flag for the United States.

Pitcher Nick Martinez’s family was also there watching in excitement.

This is Alvarez’ second trip the Olympics. The 31-year-old won a silver medal in speedskating at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

While he enters Tokyo as a seasoned vet on the world stage, this moment will always be surreal for him and his family.

“It sure was overwhelming. No, I was not prepared for this. You know I thought I was going to be able to stand but it just hit me hard,” said Eddy’s mom Mabel.

“It means absolutely everything. You know we’re both first generation Cuban Americans. It makes us so proud. Everything our families have sacrificed and everything our families have gone through to get us here, get us the freedom, and the opportunity we both have it means so much. He really is the American dream,” said his proud wife Gaby.

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Sue Bird and Eddy Alvares, of the United States, carry their country’s flag during the opening ceremony in the Olympic Stadium at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 23, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (Hannah McKay/Pool Photo via AP)

Alvarez shared his flag bearer duties with four-time Olympic women’s basketball gold medalist Sue Bird. They are the first duo to share the honor of leading the delegation into the ceremony.

Eddy’s family told CBS4’s Mike Cugno that when they got the news that he’d be carrying the flag alongside Sue Bird, the call came from one of the greatest Olympians in U.S. history, Michael Phelps.

WATCH PARTY FRIDAY MORNING FOR EDDY ALVAREZ:

 

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Alvarez made his major league debut last year with the Miami Marlins, but has been in the minors this year. If the U.S. baseball team were to medal, he’d be only the third American to medal in both the Winter and Summer Games.