MIAMI (AP) - A South Florida inline skater who traded his wheels for ice skates is headed to the Sochi Olympics.
Eddy Alvarez loved skating along South Beach as a kid, doing tricks at Lummus Park when he was just 5. Next month, he will show off his skills on a much larger stage, competing in the sport of short track speedskating.
The 23-year-old Alvarez is the second Cuban-American from the Miami region to make the U.S. Winter Olympic team. Two-time bronze medalist and four-time Olympian speedskater Jennifer Rodriguez used to train at the same ice arena.
Rodriguez, who will be watching from the sidelines, says she is excited for Eddy and believes he has a good shot for a medal.
Alvarez says he nearly gave up his quest to reach the Olympics two years ago due to the pain of two torn knee tendons. He underwent surgery and spent months nearly immobile on the family couch. He stuck with rehab, though, and earned a personal best at the Olympic trials. An avid baseball player as well as a skater, Alvarez said he’s had to give up baseball in order to make it to the Olympics. His knees could only take so much.
The Winter Olympics take place Feb. 7 through Feb. 23 in southern Russia.