As Eddy Alvarez held up the Stars and Stripes Friday in Tokyo, he joked that fellow Staff USA flag-bearer Sue Fowl wanted to carry him up simply in case he turned overrun by emotion once more.
Alvarez — a 31-year-old minor-league baseball shortstop and the son of Cuban immigrants — had choked again tears as he described the glory of representing the nation.
“Simply to get the glory to signify the USA of America, to carry the flag — the image of liberty, of freedom — my household came to visit to this nation from Cuba looking for alternative, and if it wasn’t for them doing that, I wouldn’t be within the place that I’m now,” he advised NBC’s “Right now” present. “I imply, this has been such a whirlwind of feelings.”
In an announcement to The Submit, Alvarez, a 2014 Olympic silver medalist in pace skating and now a member of the US baseball workforce, added, “Being a first-generation Cuban-American, my story represents the American Dream. My household has sacrificed a lot for me to have the chance to wave this flag proudly.”
Alvarez and four-time Olympic basketball gold medalist Fowl led their teammates into an Olympics in contrast to some other. The stands had been empty, lots of the athletes had been masked due to the COVID pandemic, and the sound of Japanese protesters outdoors the stadium — calling for the video games to be canceled — typically seeped into the ceremony.
First Woman Jill Biden wore a masks and was among the many dignitaries at Nationwide Stadium. The 68,000-capacity facility hosted about 5,700 athletes from 206 delegations and a principally working crowd of an estimated 10,000, as nation contingents marched in, snapped selfie images and returned to buses relatively than sticking round to applaud one another.
Previewed by NBC co-hosts Mike Tirico and Savannah Guthrie as “modest, extra spare” and “light” in comparison with over-the-top ceremonies of latest Olympics, “surreal” appeared like an apt description.
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The opening picture of a lone athlete operating on a treadmill (Japanese boxer Arisa Tsubata) portrayed the message “Aside, however not alone,” placing a observe for athletes who skilled an additional yr in isolation after the postponement in 2020.
Reaching into its historical past, Tokyo displayed Olympic rings created utilizing wooden from 160 pine and spruce timber grown out of seeds planted around the globe by athletes who participated when the town hosted the 1964 Olympics.
The acquainted websites of pyrotechnics, fireworks and Tongan flag-bearer Pita Taufatofua supplied consolation for these hoping to duplicate Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro. Taufatofua — a 37-year-old martial artist — returned shirtless and slathered in oil, although his patented heartthrob look was copied by Vanuatu flag-bearer Rillio Rii, a rower with oil-shining muscle tissues.
Naomi Osaka, the Japanese ladies’s tennis star who began a global dialog on athletes’ psychological well being below stress when she withdrew from Wimbledon in June, lit the Olympic cauldron.
“I do know we’re pushing by a troublesome second proper now,” stated Fowl, a Syosset, LI, native. “However proper now all of us really feel unified and it’s unbelievable.”