Even Olympic and World Champions feel the pressure and Flora Duffy admitted it after she roared to a “special” victory in Friday’s Commonwealth Games elite women’s triathlon.
The brilliant Bermudian romped home 41 seconds in front of her great rival Georgia Taylor-Brown in Birmingham, becoming the first triathlete ever to retain a Commonwealth title in the process.
Duffy makes history
Afterwards Flora admitted: “It feels really special. I definitely was feeling the pressure coming into this. No-one has ever won twice, so that was definitely sort of weighing on me. It was really cool, the crowd was incredible.”
A huge home crowd did its best to roar Taylor-Brown on to victory, but Duffy was just too good on a day where she herself fed off that energy.
“It was so cool being off the front with Georgia,” she said.
“Obviously being a home favourite, the crowd was going nuts and I was just enjoying the moment and soaking that up. It seems so long since we’ve had such and electric crowd, it was really special.”
Until the past few weeks Duffy had enjoyed a very frustrating 2022, battling COVID twice and being unable to race at IRONMAN 70.3 Mont Tremblant after her bike failed to arrive in time.
She said: “It’s been a really strange start to the year, especially coming off of the Olympics. That was such a big build and having COVID twice still managing the fatigue of an Olympic build.
“I knew if I gave myself time and patience then I could put together a good race here and yeah, I’m super-glad that I could put on a great race at a major games.”
The course in Birmingham was a brutal one over the Sprint distance, but Duffy’s strength really told on the run as Taylor-Brown wilted.
She said: “I was definitely dreading that hill on the run. But once you got up it, it wasn’t too far from finishing and it was great and it was great, once again I just got to soak in the crowd and enjoy the moment.”
Flora on GTB rivalry, and friendship
The rivalry between Duffy and Taylor-Brown is a special one and this was just the latest chapter. Flora was quick to emphasise that the pair are great friends off the track.
“It’s really special. I was laughing in a moment when it was us two off the front, ‘of course it’s us off the front’, gold and silver from last year, rivals but also I think we have a great friendship as well, which is really special.
“We can smash each other out on the course but we’re both the first to congratulate one another as soon as we cross the line and that’s really special.”