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Duffy learning to live with Olympic expectations

Flora Duffy has accepted living with the internal and external expectations of winning a medal at the Olympic Games for another year.

The two-times world champion was expected to be a strong medal contender at the Olympics in Tokyo this summer before it was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With the Tokyo Games rescheduled for the summer of 2021, Duffy and her coaches have restructured her training trajectory for the next 12 months to ensure she remains on track to achieve her ultimate ambition of winning an Olympic medal.

“Not many days go by when I don't get a comment about the Olympics, an Olympic medal, this or that,” Duffy told the Zwift PowerUp Tri podcast.

“At some point you become used to it; you have to get comfortable in that realm. You have to get comfortable in that reality otherwise you're going to go crazy!

“My whole life has been put on hold [for another 12 months] and not just my life, but everyone's in the close circle around me.

“You're not really doing anything else but focusing on training, recovery and staying healthy, and limiting any fun social activities.

“For that to be your life for another year has a big impact, especially if you're someone who is aiming to win a medal.

“You have to have all of that expectation on your shoulders for another year.”

Duffy has been restricted to primarily training in her garage in Stellenbosch, South Africa, since the outbreak of the coronavirus while partially satisfying her competitive juices by taking part in several virtual races.

The 32-year-old, who before the global travel restrictions had planned on returning to her home in Boulder, Colorado, in April, will be involved in the second race of the Z Pro June Invitational tomorrow.

She came seventeenth in the four-race series opener last week.

“The [virtual races] have been really fun; I didn't really know what to expect,” said Duffy, who was set to finish this year by competing at her first 70.3 World Championships in Taup, New Zealand, in November before it fell victim to the coronavirus.

“I'd luckily been given a heads up that they start insanely fast. It's been really good to race against some of the other women in the triathlon world and kind of have that race feeling.

“It's cool when you enter the start pen 30 minutes before and you can see who is there and see their avatars that look like them.

“In my first race I was like, ‘Gosh, I hope I don't get dropped from the start and made to look a fool!'

“I've really enjoyed the few races that I've done and really look forward to each week we do it.”

Flora Duffy clinches her second successive ITU World Triathlon Series title by winning the Grand Final in Rotterdam on September 16, 2017 (Photograph by Wagner Araujo/ITU Media)

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Published June 17, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated June 17, 2020 at 9:05 am)

Duffy learning to live with Olympic expectations

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