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Dame Flora Duffy dominates to retain Commonwealth Games crown

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Flora Duffy celebrates after winning her second consecutive gold medal in the women's individual triathlon at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England today. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Dame Flora Duffy further etched her name into the annals of not only Bermudian but world sporting history, cementing her status as one of short-course triathlon’s most dominant forces ever after successfully retaining her Commonwealth Games crown.

Bermuda’s medal expectations heading into the Games rested heavily on the 34-year-old’s shoulders, yet the world, Olympic and defending Commonwealth champion more than met them once again, returning to her dominant best to storm to victory this morning and become the first triathlete to defend a Commonwealth Games title.

Inevitably as it had been at the Olympic Games in Tokyo last year, it came down to a straight shoot-out between Duffy and main rival Georgia Taylor-Brown, with Duffy crucially establishing a four-second gap after a superlative second transition.

Reigning supreme: Dame Flora Duffy

Having afforded herself enough of a gap to Taylor-Brown, Duffy made the most of her procession down the blue carpet, lapping up the adulation of the crowd before crossing the line to add another gold to her haul, in a winning time of 55min 25sec.

Taylor-Brown settled for silver, 41 seconds adrift of Duffy, with Beth Potter, of Scotland, completing the podium places in 56:46.

“I found my form again,” said Duffy, after a frustrating year. “This year has been really tough with having Covid twice and just managing the fatigue of the last year, I’ve had to be really patient with myself.

“It’s not the best when you have to race when you know you’re not quite ready, but I’ve had to trust that as the year went on I would get stronger and stronger and could turn up here and be in contention to win.

“It’s always special to come and win at a major games and it’s always means a lot to me to win a medal for Bermuda. It’s really special that there were lots of people cheering me on and my family and friends were here to see me win. It’s special and I’ll try to just soak it all in.

“One year ago family weren’t in Tokyo and so it’s nice that I was able to put on a performance for them here.”

Reflecting on the race itself, Duffy highlighted the special nature of her rivalry with Taylor-Brown as she spoke about the crucial moment in main her move on the run.

“It’s really funny that it was myself and Georgia off the front again but honestly I knew it would be.

“It’s really special as I get towards then end of my career that I have a rivalry like that because she’s such a talented athlete who is a friend of mine.

“It’s cool that we get to be out there battling each other but we’re also the first to congratulate one another when we cross the line.

“I knew when we got on the bike I wanted to shake one or two, and when Georgia and I got off the front I knew it would be a battle. Luckily I got a bit of a gap early on. I just tried to focus on my run and just kept pushing.”

Despite having already fulfilled her childhood dreams by winning Olympic gold in Tokyo, Duffy confirmed plans to defend her title in Paris in two years’ time.

“I’m definitely going to build towards Paris and go there to do my best to defend my Olympic title,” she added. “There’s a lot of strong women coming up, but I will go there and enjoy being the defending Olympic champion.

“That’s not something many people get to say, so I’m just going to enjoy that.”

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Published July 30, 2022 at 7:54 am (Updated July 31, 2022 at 9:23 am)

Dame Flora Duffy dominates to retain Commonwealth Games crown

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