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Government promises ‘fitting celebration’ for Flora’s historic Olympic gold

Rapturous reception: Bermuda celebrates Flora Duffy and Clarence “Nicky” Saunders for their Commonwealth Games success in 2018. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Government is considering options for how to commemorate Flora Duffy’s landmark gold medal victory.

A Government spokeswoman yesterday promised there would be a “fitting celebration” of her historic accomplishment at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, but plans were still in the early stages.

She said: “We will speak with her and her family to determine her plans and the public will be kept informed.

“The Naming and Recognition Committee has been invited to develop recommendations for the consideration of the Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport to share with the Cabinet.

“This is an exciting time and all Bermuda is justifiably proud of Flora Duffy and this incredible Olympic success.”

Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, said at a press conference yesterday, that Ms Duffy’s victory had added an extra “sweetness” to the Cup Match holiday weekend, and the public would hear more in the future about how the Government would celebrate the occasion.

“Clearly for an island of our size of 22 square miles, winning a gold is one of the greatest prizes that any country can have,” he said.

But he added that Bermuda should also celebrate others who have represented the island on the Olympic stage.

Cole Simons, the Leader of the Opposition, said the OBA would support a National holiday to recognise Ms Duffy’s accomplishment – and for her to recognised with a Dame of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

Mr Simons comments came after a surge of calls on social media for a national holiday in Ms Duffy’s honour.

The proposal is not entirely unprecedented, as in 1979 Bermuda celebrated Gina Swainson’s victory at that year’s Miss World Pageant with a half-day holiday.

Others on social media suggested that Ms Duffy be included in the list of Bermuda National Heroes.

On the popular Maj’s List Facebook page users called for a motorcade to celebrate Ms Duffy’s return to the island, with one post garnering more than 1,500 likes.

Many on social media also called on the island to use the opportunity to celebrate Bermuda’s first Olympic medal winner, Clarence Hill.

Mr Hill brought home a bronze medal from the 1976 Montreal Games in heavyweight boxing.

In 2018, Ms Duffy’s gold medal win at the Commonwealth Games – and the gold medal victory of Clarence “Nicky” Saunders at the 1990 games – was celebrated with a motorcade through Hamilton.

The pair were presented with certificates of achievement and $10,000 incentive awards for their successes.

· How do you believe Ms Duffy’s victory should be commemorated? Send us your suggestions at news@royalgazette.com.

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Published July 28, 2021 at 7:53 am (Updated July 28, 2021 at 7:29 am)

Government promises ‘fitting celebration’ for Flora’s historic Olympic gold

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