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Duffy Day: let’s get the party started

Pure gold: Flora Duffy celebrates her triathlon Olympic gold medal in Tokyo (AP Photo/David Goldman)

A public holiday to mark Olympic gold star Flora Duffy’s historic win has been welcomed by family and friends.

Charlie Duffy, the father of the 33-year-old triathlete, said that he was “beyond proud” when his sons told him that October 18 was to be Flora Duffy Day.

He added: “I’ve been proud of Flora for 25 years non-stop.

“Flora gets a lot of recognition and everyone in Bermuda loves her, so this is just more evidence of that.”

Mr Duffy was speaking after the Government announced the new holiday on Friday.

The one-off holiday was created to commemorate Ms Duffy’s win – Bermuda’s first Olympic gold – at the Tokyo Olympics.

Mr Duffy said that he was not surprised because of the Government’s earlier promise of a “fitting celebration” for Ms Duffy.

He said: “My reaction is based on how happy Flora is at any particular time, so if this makes her very happy then I’ll be happy”.

Mr Duffy added: “If someone had told me 25 years ago that she’d win an Olympic gold medal I wouldn’t have said ‘get out, it’s not possible’ because even then she was pretty special.

“One of her old coaches, Dave Morrison, reminds me every time I see him that when she was about eight or nine years old he said she’d win an Olympic gold medal.”

Dan Hugo, Ms Duffy’s husband, said the news was “pretty neat” and “a fine way to get the party started”.

Sports organisations also backed the national holiday as a great way to celebrate her accomplishment.

Donna Raynor, the president of the Bermuda National Athletics Association, said the recognition was “well deserved”.

She added: “I think she’s shown us her commitment, she’s put in the work and she ended up getting that gold medal, so I definitely think Bermuda should celebrate her.”

Ms Raynor said Flora Duffy Day would help to encourage athletes to stay committed to their sport and realise that “hard work pays off”.

She added: “I also think it’s a great encouragement for women, because we always have a problem with keeping our women in sports – and not even just in Bermuda but around the world – so I think this to me is a good plug for women in sports.”

David Sabir, the president of the Association of National Sports Governing Bodies, said he was “absolutely ecstatic” over Ms Duffy’s triumph.

He added that she had helped “skyrocket” sports as a symbol of national pride.

Mr Sabir said: “I am so happy and extremely proud of what Flora Duffy has achieved at the absolute highest level of sporting performance.

“All of Bermuda should be proud of what Flora has done – she deserves all of the accolades that she has received and more.”

Mr Sabir added he hoped Ms Duffy would inspire athletes “to do their very best” and encourage other people to become more active.

Sharon Hammond, the president of the Bermuda Triathlon Association, said that she was “very excited”, particularly because the special day coincided with the World Triathlon Series, scheduled for October 16-17.

She added: “I think it’s a fantastic end to what I’m sure is going to be an exciting weekend of racing.”

Ms Hammond said that the holiday reflected the “incredible hard work over many years that Flora has put in to reach her accomplishment this year”.

She added: “I know that, with Covid and everything, in Bermuda there is so much negativity and challenges, so this is just a wonderfully positive thing to celebrate.”

Ms Duffy’s landmark victory on July 28 sparked a flood of calls to mark the achievement – including naming a street after her and adding her to the list of national heroes.

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Published September 13, 2021 at 7:58 am (Updated September 13, 2021 at 7:38 am)

Duffy Day: let’s get the party started

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