Flora Duffy earns Bermuda’s first Olympic gold medal with triathlon success

·3 min read

Triathlete Flora Duffy realised not just her own dream but that of a whole nation by winning Bermuda’s first Olympic gold medal in Tokyo on Tuesday morning.

The 33-year-old produced a stunning performance at Odaiba Marine Park, dominating the 10 kilometres run and crossing the line more than a minute ahead of Britain’s Georgia Taylor-Brown in second.

Bermuda was already the least populated country to win a summer Olympic medal thanks to a bronze for boxer Clarence Hill in 1976 but now the island territory has its first champion.

“It’s been a heck of a lot of pressure for five years,” said Duffy, who became Bermuda’s first female Commonwealth Games champion in 2018.

“I would never recommend being an Olympic favourite for five years. Of course it’s made it all worth it now.

“I think the whole of Bermuda is going crazy. That’s what makes it so special to me is that, yes, this was my dream, but I also knew it was bigger than me. I’m just proud I could be Bermuda’s first gold medallist, first female medallist, and hopefully inspire everyone back home that this is possible.”

God Save The Queen rang out for Duffy’s triumph, and she has plenty of links to Britain, with her mother hailing from Burnley and her father from Barrow, while she spent four years at boarding school in Tavistock.

She said: “I hold dual nationality of British-Bermudian, but I’m born and raised in Bermuda, that’s where my heart is.

“I have family in England and that’s special but for me it was always Bermuda that felt the most special. We have our national song, Hail To Bermuda, so I prefer that to be played, but when God Save the Queen is played it sort of honours my British and Bermudian sides.”

Duffy was courted by British Triathlon but did not consider switching allegiance, saying: “There would have been a lot more funding and support. But being with Bermuda I was allowed to forge my own path, go through ups and downs, and take some time off sport to allow myself to develop as the racer that I am.

“I don’t think I would have been allowed to do that in the GB programme. I think some doors would have been shut on me. I had to do what my heart said.”

Duffy was awarded an OBE in 2018 for services to sport in Bermuda.

“That was definitely a huge surprise,” she said. “I got a call from our governor saying he wanted to speak to me, which was strange. He told me I was nominated for an OBE.

“That was incredible going to Buckingham Palace and receiving it. I met Prince Charles. It was very special. I’m just so grateful for everything that sport has given me.”

So could Dame Flora Duffy be on the cards after this latest achievement?

“That sounds nice,” she said. “I like Olympic champ best, though.”

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