‘It’s not just her dreams - all our dreams have come true’
Flora Duffy’s exploits in Tokyo have been described as “inspirational” by some of the island’s top athletes.
And there have been calls to name part of the National Sports Centre in her honour and in recognition of her groundbreaking performance.
Olympic diver Katura Horton-Perinchief said she felt proud that a woman had broken the sporting barrier.
Ms Horton-Perinchief, who represented Bermuda at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, said: “How difficult is it to win an Olympic gold medal? Difficult is not even the word – it’s near impossible.
“I’m so glad that Flora has fulfilled her dream, but of course, it’s not just her dream – all our dreams have come true.
“I think we’ve always produced incredible athletes who are capable of performing on the world stage, but this is above and beyond.
“To have someone of that standard coming from an island of 21 square miles, of 64,000 people, taking on the best in the world – and beating them – I think that speaks to our resilience and talent and potential.
“It’s an honour and a privilege that it’s a woman who has broken this barrier for us.”
Former indoor world champion triple-jumper Brian Wellman said the secret to Ms Duffy’s success was simple – hard work and dedication.
“You’ve got to make the sacrifices,” he said.
“There’s no mystery to a performance like Flora’s. You have to make the sacrifices. You’ve got to take care of yourself, get your rest, go without that ice cream.
“You also have to live and breath your sport, thinking about it all day, every day.
“And there will be obstacles, but you must never give up. You have to persevere, you have to have that drive and desire. Be prepared for the setbacks, because it’s not going to come easily.
“That’s what Flora did, and we saw the result. More kudos to her.”
Mr Wellman, who took part in four Olympics between 1988 and 2000, said he believed Ms Duffy would become an inspiration to Bermudian young talent.
He said: “I was inspired by people and I think Flora will be inspirational to young people today. They will see that, if you work hard, you can become the best in the world.”
Cricketer Irving Romaine captained Bermuda at the World Cup in 2007.
He said: “To play on the world stage is the pinnacle for any athlete. It was amazing for us just to be at the World Cup, even though we didn’t win. Just to be there representing your country – tiny Bermuda – countries like India probably have more cricketers than our entire population.
“But to perform on the world stage and win – that’s just an amazing feeling.
“I was watching the race and getting nervous for her, even when I knew she was going to win.
“To see the Bermuda flag flying above those of Britain and America – it made my heart flutter.”
Mr Romaine, a teacher, said he witnessed Ms Duffy’s talent when she was a student at Warwick Academy.
“We knew she was special then,” he said.
“But in Bermuda we still see sport as a leisure activity. It’s moved way beyond that now – it’s a profession, a business. Bermuda hasn’t made that step, until now. Flora has made that step up.
“She’s going to be an inspiration to young people now who will see what we can achieve.
“I think we should name part of the National Sports Centre after her.”