Record-setting Dame Flora Duffy hailed as ‘greatest female triathlete world has ever seen’
Community and sporting leaders congratulated Dame Flora Duffy yesterday on her incredible, record-setting win in the World Triathlon Championship Series in Abu Dhabi.
David Burt, the Premier, said: “Bermuda’s champion continues to make her mark as the best in the world. On behalf of the Government and people of Bermuda, congratulations to Dame Flora on your record-breaking fourth WTS World Triathlon title, which no female triathlete has ever achieved.
“Dame Flora is a two-time ITU World Triathlon Series Champion, two-time ITU Cross Triathlon World Champion, six-time winner of the XTERRA World Championships, Commonwealth gold medal-winner and an Olympic gold medal-winner.
“She is an undisputed champion. Flora, you are without question the greatest female triathlete the world has ever seen, and you are an inspiration to us all here in Bermuda. Your dedication, fearlessness and strength of character represent the true champion that you are.”
Owen Darrell, the Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport, said: “Once again Dame Flora Duffy has proven that she is the greatest female triathlete in the world, clinching another world title and cementing her place in the history books.
“She proves that it is truly the resilience of character that defies the odds, that being from a small island does not preclude you from greatness.
“Indeed, Flora has shown us today that greatness is built off of continuous hard work, a humble spirit and steadfast determination. She makes me proud to be Bermudian and I look forward to cheering for her as she continues to compete. Congratulations, Flora.”
Ben Smith, opposition Senate leader and Shadow Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport who coached Dame Flora in the youth Sharks swimming club, said: “Dame Flora continues to write her amazing story as a world-dominant athlete carrying the Bermuda banner.
“What Flora has accomplished so far and continues to accomplish should be an example for our entire community. She used her natural ability and early local sporting support to build towards her ultimate goals and dreams.”
He added: “It is her hard work, focus and continued commitment to excellence that needs to be highlighted as an example for us all. She reached the pinnacle and then committed to not just maintain her level but to continue to improve.
“Her journey was not a smooth path to gold medals and world championships, and it’s the lessons she learnt through struggle that keeps her humble as she continues to rewrite the history books.
“As someone who had the opportunity to work with Flora when she was a young age group athlete, I am most proud of her efforts to give back to her community.
“Setting goals, working hard to achieve your goals, and remembering to help the ones coming behind you is a legacy that will shine much brighter than the gold medals she continues to win.
“Thank you, Flora, for giving the next generation of big dreams a chance to believe.”
Donna Raynor, the chairwoman of the Bermuda Olympic Association’s Women In Sport Committee, described the win as “fantastic”.
The former president of the Bermuda National Athletics Association and the island’s chef de mission for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England this year, said: “I was with Flora at the Commonwealth Games when she won gold. It was exciting to see her win here in Bermuda last month and now to see her win it in Abu Dhabi and the World Series. I think it is great.
“As chairperson of Women in Sport, it is wonderful to see so many powerful women in sport in Bermuda and I am happy we are able to celebrate. Congratulations to her and to her husband, Dan. Flora is a hard worker and deserves everything she gets.”
Dave Horan, principal of Warwick Academy, where Dame Flora studied and also trained as an athlete, said: “The school celebrated this morning to the wonderful news that Flora was once again crowned World Triathlon champion.
“We are very proud of her accomplishments. To think someone sitting in our hall and walking our corridors can reach for the stars, get there and stay there. Quo Non Ascendam.”
Mark Thorne, head of PE at the school, added: “I awoke to several WhatsApp messages from my brother Jet who was watching at 5.01 this morning extremely excited.
“Other WhatsApp friends were also alert to her racing and all of us are simply amazed at her world-beating accomplishments. Top female triathlete of all time — no one has ever won four world titles.
“Congrats, Flora, all of us here at Warwick Academy could not be more proud of you and it is an absolute privilege to be a small part of your incredible journey.”
Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, said Dame Flora had “cemented her place as Bermuda’s greatest athlete“.
“Watching her soar to victory through the streets of Hamilton earlier this month filled me with great pleasure and immense pride. She is the epitome of what a world-class athlete should be — humble, yet so driven, task focused and, with a forged grace, an inspiration to a new generation of Bermudians.
“She seems absolutely unstoppable, and I look forward to seeing what’s next for her. Flora absolutely deserves every accolade that comes her way, she is a national treasure.”