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Flora Duffy Way, a national holiday - ways to celebrate Bermuda’s Golden Girl

National hero: Bermudian triathlete Flora Duffy (File photograph)

Calls came from across the island for a lasting tribute to Bermuda’s new Olympic gold medal winner Flora Duffy.

Readers contacted The Royal Gazette in the wake of Ms Duffy’s historic win in the women’s triathlon at the Tokyo Olympics on July 26.

Ed Kelly said recognition should include Clarence Hill, previously the island’s sole Olympic medal-winner after he claimed bronze at the Montreal Games in 1976.

Mr Kelly added: “Rather than rush this, use National Heroes Day 2022 as a celebration for all those that ever participated in the Olympics – certainly a parade led by Flora and Clarence followed by the dozens of participants in the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games

“This would provide time to conceptualise and build imaginative floats, write songs and poems that will immortalise our athletes either winners or participants – heroes all.

“This does not preclude a triumphal welcome and motorcade for Flora when she returns.”

Ms Duffy is likely to return to Bermuda after the summer, and David Burt, the Premier, announced plans in the aftermath of her win for a national commemoration of the Olympics triumph when she calls on the island.

Nearly a quarter of the 948 respondents to a Royal Gazette online poll on celebrating Ms Duffy’s achievement suggested naming a sports facility in her honour.

Harry Patchett and Deborah Levine both echoed the idea, suggesting the National Sports Centre in Devonshire become the Flora Duffy National Sports Centre.

Ms Levine also pitched having a statue of the athlete added to Albuoy’s Point, as well as creating a one-time public holiday, Flora Duffy Day, on the 26th of a month such as September.

Twenty per cent of poll respondents agreed with the holiday, while 17 per cent called for a sports scholarship in her name.

Holding a parade garnered 13 per cent of votes, while the renaming of a road or public place took 10 per cent, and including other athletic greats with a recognition of Mr Duffy got 9 per cent.

Eight per cent said increased funding for elite athletes would make a worthy tribute.

Rose Spershott wrote that the “icing on the cake” would have been the playing of the island’s national song Hail to Bermuda at the Olympic ceremony.

Lyn Winford said Cup Match could get a “Duffy Day” added for the Monday after the holiday, while Front Street could become “Flora Way”.

Juanita Coley called for a motorcade in “the very near future”, and a national holiday including a triathlon in honour of the gold-winner.

She added: “That would be an awesome way to not only recognise her accomplishment but also to encourage others to take up the sport.

“I also think the Government should consider a way of implementing the sport into the public school system which ought to garner more interest and diversification within the sport.”

Cecilia Cann suggested a prominent community location for plaques or a wall of names to honour top athletes.

She also proposed a wax museum or footprints in the sidewalk of Front Street for sports heroes from sailing stars, swimmers and divers.

Ms Cann added there should be recognition for “all of our Special Olympians who have also done us proud” as well as Bermuda’s para-athletes.

She noted Paul Hollis, who in 2010 took two gold medals in swimming at the Desert Challenge Games in Mesa, Arizona.

International wheelchair sprinter Jessica Lewis won 2019 Female Athlete of the Year after victories including three wins at the Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru: gold in the 100 and 400 metres, and silver in the 800.

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Published August 09, 2021 at 7:53 am (Updated August 08, 2021 at 10:17 pm)

Flora Duffy Way, a national holiday - ways to celebrate Bermuda’s Golden Girl

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