Dame Flora Duffy crowned female triathlete of the year
Dame Flora Duffy has been crowned the female triathlete of the year at the inaugural Global Triathlon Awards.
At the ceremony, which took place yesterday in Nice, France, the Bermudian beat strong competition in the Best Female category from the likes of Ashleigh Gentle, Georgia Taylor-Brown, Lucy Charles-Barclay and Chelsea Sodaro to take the top honour.
The accolade comes in the wake of a sensational 2022 in which 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 after clinching a record fourth women’s world title when successfully defending her World Triathlon Championship Series crown.
That triumph in a title-laden career moved Duffy ahead of Australian Emma Snowsill, who won three world crowns between 2003 and 2006, when the champion was decided by a single race.
The world championship victory in Abu Dhabi was not Duffy’s only major success, as she also successfully defended her Commonwealth Games title in Birmingham, England, and in doing so became the first triathlete to successfully retain a Commonwealth crown.
“It’s great to be here tonight. I’m honoured to have been nominated alongside these women and very proud to stand here with this award,” said Duffy, who was selected by a judging panel of industry experts featuring Jordan Blanco, Stephane Diagana, Emma-Kate Lidbury, Tim Don and Chelsea Burns.
“Thank you to those who are involved in elevating triathlon stories. I know triathlon changed my life and it has changed Bermuda.
“That is why it is important to have events like this continue to happen and ensure that continues.”
Despite being her crowning moment, Duffy took the opportunity to heap praise on two of the other nominees, highlighting the standout performances of Gentle in winning the PTO Canadian Open in Edmonton, and also Sodaro, who clinched the Ironman World Championship title in Kona, Hawaii.
“While I’m up here I also want to acknowledge two performances that really inspired me last year,” added Duffy.
“The first was Ashleigh Gentle at PTO Edmonton. It was really moving to watch you cross the line in first and take that win.
“The second was Chelsea Sodaro stealing the show in Kona. I don’t know how but she got me to watch nine hours of triathlon and I was completely gripped the entire time.”
Between that success in England and the crowning glory of her year in the Middle East, last year also saw Duffy take the chance to storm to victory in the WTCS Bermuda event, thrilling the home crowds with yet another dominant display.
Racing on island for the first time since her victory in 2018 and this time as Olympic champion, the 35-year-old did not disappoint the thousands of expectant fans who had lined the course, sprinting clear of her rivals to win by a comprehensive margin of 1min 39sec over American Taylor Knibb, with Britain’s Beth Potter completing the podium.
The whirlwind year culminated in a memorable visit to Buckingham Palace to receive one of the most significant medals among her illustrious career.
Just four days on from becoming four-times world champion in Abu Dhabi, Duffy joined others at an investiture ceremony at the palace to finally receive her honours in person, having been appointed a Dame in the New Year’s Honours List in January last year.
Meanwhile, Sodaro did not go home empty-handed from the ceremony after being named the Rookie of the Year, while the inaugural Lifetime Kudos awards were presented to Bob Babbitt and Nicola Spirig.