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Flora’s passion rewarded

Flora Duffy approaching the finish line with a gold medal secured was the culmination of years of endeavour and struggle (Photograph by David Goldman/AP)

Flora Duffy did it. She is an Olympic gold medal-winner and is indeed the best in the world as a female triathlete. I can remember her as a young child competing in short-distance races, including events such as the Front Street Mile. I remember her father also, who is of my generation and was a very determined and consistent half-marathoner. I’m sure he would not mind if I said he was no running star.

Aside from congratulations to her for a well-deserved win after years of dedicated effort following her passion to be No 1 in her field, well she did it. And there are a number of lessons that we cannot bypass in her climb to success. Lessons that may lay the foundation for future success.

Her parents, I can recall them participating in adult events and Flora in the youth events. She was a good competitor from the beginning. I don't know but can only surmise, her parents recognised her abilities early and helped to nourish them. In such cases, it is so easy for a parent to look at the young person’s ambition as pursuits of futility. We have heard the comment “we like your enthusiasm, but go get a real job”.

Flora had a real job and that was to become the best triathlete in the world. So, much credit must go to her support group, first among whom would be her parents.

The next important thing for everyone is to see themselves as no less than anyone in the world. As a Bermudian and as another human on this planet, whatever anyone has achieved from anywhere in the world, we could achieve the same and be as good or better. That goes for sport, music and entertainment, or any field of endeavour — even political. However, it takes passion and dedication. One must love what they do and be willing to go beyond self-doubt to actualise their calling.

Flora knew that, and at some point, for her was just the opportunity to prove what she already knew. At times fate plays a hand and accidents and health issues may intervene, which could also be fatal to aspirations. Flora had her setbacks but prevailed; I posit it was her internal certainty that pulled her through.

It took a generation since Clarence Hill for another Bermudian to be called to the Olympic podium to receive a medal. Now through Flora, we have a gold. I am going to believe it will be within a shorter period that we see others rise to the Olympic podium.

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Published July 31, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated July 29, 2021 at 8:34 pm)

Flora’s passion rewarded

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