Flora Duffy received the epic welcome she so deserved when she was finally able to make her return home to Bermuda this week.
Around 10 weeks on from that epic victory in Tokyo, Flora took the acclaim of an island after becoming the first Bermudian ever to strike Olympic gold.
That brilliant performance to outpace Great Britain’s Georgia Taylor-Brown in the Japanese capital catapulted Flora truly into the global limelight. Within hours she was receiving messages from film stars Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, and she was also a special guest of honour at the US Open Tennis Championship at Flushing Meadows.
As well as winning Olympic gold, she also capped an astonishing summer on the course by claiming another WTCS title in Edmonton in August.
Flora returns to Bermuda
Amidst all that success and excitement, there was a tinge of genuine sadness for Duffy, with the news that WTCS Bermuda – scheduled for October 15 to 17 – had been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite being left “devastated and heartbroken” she vowed to still return home as planned, and on Monday she arrived to a hero’s welcome. Duffy travelled across the island in a motorcade as fans lined the streets to hail her arrival back in her homeland.
The route took Flora to Warwick Academy, where she studied, and to the Cabinet Office in Hamilton. It was there that she addressed the crowds with a speech.
During the speech, Flora paid tribute to the only previous athlete to claim an Olympic medal for Bermuda. And fittingly boxer Clarence Hill, who claimed bronze in Montreal back in 1976, was on hand to greet her.
Duffy on a very special welcome
She added: “You know, when I was in Tokyo, there was no-one in the stands, nobody on the streets, my family was not there, my friends were not able to come. So to arrive back to Bermuda, and to get the welcome that I’ve had, and the events in the week to come, it feels really special.
“I’ve never left an airport in a motorcade like that and had people sceaming down the streets, and so thank you to everyone who came out. It made me feel so welcome, so proud – I’m just so honoured that I could represent Bermuda in Tokyo, win our first gold medal and be here to celebrate with everybody.”
As Flora said in her speech, there are more events to come in the week to come, and next Monday (October 18) is officially Flora Duffy Day on the island and a public holiday.