Bermuda Wins Summer Olympic Gold – Smallest Population To Ever Do That
Royal Gazette, Bermuda: Flora Duffy said this was her last shot and she took it.
There may have been few spectators in Tokyo but all of Bermuda was cheering on Bermuda’s golden girl as she ran into the history books and smashed the Olympic record at the same time.
In the end, she didn’t just win the women’s triathlon gold medal at the Olympic Games, she seized it.
A family’s joy burst into national elation last night as Ms Duffy took the first ever gold medal for Bermuda, and the second medal ever after Clarence Hill won the bronze in boxing at Montreal in 1976.
For parents Charlie and Maria Duffy, it was a jubilant ending to a nerve-shredding hour and 55 minutes.
“It’s unreal – just unreal,” Ms Duffy said, embracing her son Joel with a bottle of champagne, eyes fixed on her daughter in triumph before the world.
For the thousands watching, the night was an agony of anticipation that gave way to 30 minutes of cheering euphoria.
Just before the crowd that joined the Duffy family at Docksiders on Front Street erupted into ecstatic final cheers, Mr Duffy watched his daughter beam as she approached the finish and exclaimed: “This is beyond our dreams.”
He added: “But it’s still not that unlikely – know what I mean? Given her ability. She’s just the best in the world.”
Both parents rode out their nerves with the rest of Bermuda, cheering for every gain as the island’s star athlete took and held her lead.
Asked if it was tough every time watching her daughter compete, Ms Duffy said: “You just get used to it.”
Then she said: “No, not really. We’ll see what happens on the run.”
For Flora’s family, with her brother Campbell watching from London, it was all about the final 10k run.
Mr Duffy admitted early in the night’s drama: “It’s absolutely nerve-wracking. Shattering. And it gets worse.”
As she took her place in the leading cyclists, a relieved father said: “I feel good now; she’s in the front pack. She can beat any of those.”
And as she took an instant lead in the 10k, Mr Duffy said: “She’s way, way ahead, and these are the best in the world. What she doesn’t always get credit for is, she wins races by a mile.”
At the end, with the family wearing matching “Go Flora Go” shirts, clutching Bermuda’s flag and surrounded by a rapturous crowd, it was simply an emotional celebration of a moment many Bermudians almost didn’t dare to hope for.
The epic win lit up social media in a flash, with tributes pouring in as the Premier and others echoed the island’s jubilation.
After taking the stage in Tokyo, Ms Duffy told The Royal Gazette: “This is Bermuda’s first gold medal and as the first woman to do it it’s an incredibly special moment and I feel as I crossed the line today, I did it for everyone in Bermuda.
“I’ve had an extra year with this pressure on me. Although it was difficult to manage and navigate all that pressure what a special moment to come down the finishing shoot and just to enjoy it and have my moments. It’s incredible.”
She added: “It was worth it; there’s been many tears, many heartbreaks. Many times I was like: ‘Am I ever going to be healthy again, can I ever race at the top’?
“I just kept believing and I have a really great support system around me.”