Bermuda's first Olympic gold 'just unbelievable': triathlete's parents

·2-min read
Flora Duffy waves the flag of her country Bermuda as she celebrates after crossing the finish line to win the women's individual triathlon competition during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

The delivery of Bermuda's first ever Olympic gold medal on Tuesday by triathlete Flora Duffy is a victory shared by the whole island, her parents told AFP.

"Everybody's going to take a piece of this pride," said Maria Duffy, Flora's mother.

Flora Duffy won the first gold of the day Tuesday at the Tokyo Olympics for the women's event, making Bermuda the smallest territory or nation in terms of population ever to win a gold medal at a Summer Games.

The 33-year-old crossed the line in 1hr 55min 36sec, after traversing a distance of more than 30 miles (50 kilometers), around 10 miles longer than her home island, to beat out Britain's Georgia Taylor-Brown, with US athlete Katie Zaferes taking bronze.

Duffy's parents watched her swim, cycle and run a grueling course from a pub on the tiny island, with a population of around 70,000, and they were "blown away" by the crowd that had gathered, they told AFP.

"All these people coming to watch your daughter. You're just hoping and praying: 'Oh please, let's hope it all pans out and doesn't go pear-shaped.' And it didn't go pear-shaped, which was just unbelievable," Maria Duffy said.

The couple said messages had flooded in, and neighbors were "overcome and overwhelmed."

"It's been 45 years since something like this has happened. It might be another 45 before it ever happens again," Maria said.

Bermuda's only previous Olympic medalist was boxer Clarence Hill, who won a bronze in 1976.

Despite the odds, and Duffy having faced persistent injuries and a diagnosis of anemia in 2013, her father Charlie said he was "fairly confident" she'd win, though he was still "worried."

"She only just recovered from an injury about four or five weeks ago. So really, just to have her on the start line fit was a huge step forward," he said.

He said the Tokyo Games would be his daughter's final Olympic appearance.

"This was her last hurrah," his wife added.

The enormity of the triumph was not lost on the triathlete herself, who said shortly after her victory: "It's bigger than me, and that's a really cool moment."

"I have achieved my dream of winning a gold medal, but also winning Bermuda's first gold medal," she said.

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