Speedskater-turned-baseball infielder Eddie Alvarez is about to do what only two other Americans have ever accomplished — win medals at both the Summer and Winter Olympics.
At the Sochi Winter Games in 2014, the Cuban-American athlete won silver as part of the U.S. 5,000-meter relay team. Following Thursday’s U.S. 7-2 victory in baseball over defending Olympic champions South Korea, he’ll medal again when the U.S. faces Japan on Saturday. The only question is whether his new medal will be silver or gold.
Alvarez said he cried tears of joy in the dugout after Thursday’s win.
“Yeah, I got emotional because it was a lot of sacrifice,” he acknowledged, according to The Associated Press.
“I still can’t believe it,” Alvarez told the AP. “I know the job’s not done yet because at the end of the day, one of the only reasons why I came out here is for redemption, to win a gold medal.”
Saturday’s gold-medal game is slated for 6 a.m. ET. No matter the outcome, Alvarez will join an elite club of American athletes who’ve pulled off the Summer-Winter feat.
Eddie Eagan won an Olympic gold medal in boxing in 1920, and 12 years later, he won another gold in the four-man bobsled. In 2012, Lauryn Williams won a gold in the 4×100-meter relay in London and then brought home a silver from Sochi in the two-woman bobsled. She earlier won a silver in track in 2004.
Alvarez is relishing his second shot at gold, especially because his runner-up finish in 2014 came to a Russian team that bested the U.S. skaters by just 0.271 seconds. Subsequently, members of Russia’s speedskating program were implicated in the country’s massive doping scandal — including athletes who were on the team that beat the Americans.
“I won’t lie to you. I do feel cheated,” Alvarez said, according to the AP. “But, yeah, this feels like a little redemption trip here, giving me a second chance to win gold.”