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July 2021: Bermuda’s golden girl!

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Flora Duffy celebrates winning her Olympic gold medal in the triathlon in the Tokyo Summer Olympics (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Flora Duffy struck gold in Tokyo as she triumphed in the triathlon and put Bermuda on the world stage with a surge of energy and enthusiasm that caught global attention.

Noting the small population of Bermuda, British newspaper, The Guardian, stated: "The most glorious of rainbows formed over Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo early on Tuesday morning as the world’s greatest triathletes swam, pedalled and puffed their way around the Odaiba Marine Park. And, at the end of it, Bermuda discovered its first pot of Olympic gold."

Ms Duffy, 34, became a national heroine, bringing gold back to Bermuda after finishing in 45th place at London 2012, and 8th in Rio in 2016, the year she also won her first world title.

The victory saw Bermuda placed ahead of much bigger countries like Mexico, Argentina, and Nigeria in the medals table.

“It’s not just my medal, it is our medal”, Ms Duffy exclaimed as she took the backing of the whole island on board.

She said: “Thank you to everyone back in Bermuda who has been supporting me.

"It was pretty cool to see that raw emotion from everyone.”

Coming back after an injury in 2020, Ms Duffy said: "I finally found my groove, training started to go really well, and things just changed.“

Flora Duffy of Team Bermuda celebrates as she approaches the finish line to win the gold medal during the women’s individual triathlon competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The champion said that in the final stretch she did not think she would reach this level again, stating she felt the “the pressure and expectation of coming in as Bermuda’s only medal hope in 40 years”.

Ms Duffy told CNN: “I know how much it means for everyone in Bermuda and to be a woman who has done that it is pretty special.

“I have seen messages and video from people n Bermuda going crazy. I hope it inspires others in Bermuda.”

The gold medal winner was also acclaimed by Hollywood star and former Bermuda resident Michael Douglas.

In a Facebook video he said: “I have got to make a shout-out here to Flora Duffy who won the gold medal in the triathlon.

“Flora is from Bermuda, my mother’s home country. I believe, I have been told that this is the only gold medial for the smallest and the least populated country in the Olympics. So congratulations to Flora Duffy and to Bermuda.”

Flora Duffy of Bermuda celebrates after crossing the finish line to win the gold medal in the women's individual triathlon competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The victory united Bermudians and Ms Duffy’s return to the island in the autumn saw crowds throng the streets to welcome her home after the triumph in Tokyo.

The golden victory was seized on by the Government which promised to boost the island’s sporting prowess as Ernest Peets, Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport, signalled that the option of a national lottery was being looked into as a way of funding future success.

While no exact funding figure has yet been identified, Dr Peets reiterated his desire to implement the strategy over the next five years in a bid to build on Ms Duffy’s Olympic triumph in the triathlon and fully harness Bermuda’s sporting potential.

Ms Duffy’s success inspired the Flora Gold Fund which was set up with initial support from rum firm Gosling’s.

The company will continue to donate proceeds from its Flora Gold rum to the fund, which could amount to a total of $100,000.

It also became clear in July that some 2,500 people had been overpaid $3.5 million in Covid-19 lockdown unemployment benefits.

Gold medal winner Flora Duffy of Bermuda cheers on bronze medalist Katie Zaferes of The United States as she approaches the finish, while silver medalist Georgia Taylor-Brown of Great Britain collapses on the ground after finishing during the women's individual triathlon competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

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Published December 31, 2021 at 7:54 am (Updated December 31, 2021 at 9:50 am)

July 2021: Bermuda’s golden girl!

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