Flora Duffy was understandably emotional after claiming a brilliant victory in the women’s triathlon at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games early on Tuesday.
The 33-year-old former two-time world champion delivered a perfect performance when it mattered to claim a first ever Olympic gold medal for Bermuda.
She was right up with the leading pack after the swim, stayed prominent during the bike leg and then produced a decisive move early in the run to surge clear to win by 74 seconds from Britain’s Georgia Taylor-Brown. America’s Katie Zaferes took bronze.
Dream come true for Duffy
Duffy told BBC Sport afterwards: “It’s definitely a lot of emotions to deal with. It’s slowly hitting me, and this has been my dream since I was eight years old.
“I grew up in Bermuda doing triathlon, and always wanted to be Olympic champion and this is Bermuda’s first gold medal and the first woman to do it.
“It’s an incredibly special moment. I feel like I crossed the line today, but I did it for everyone in Bermuda.”
Duffy, not surprisingly given her status in Bermuda, had to deal with huge pressure ahead of the Games. But she said the manner of her success meant she was able to enjoy an incredibly special moment.
“I’ve had an extra year to know that this pressure was on me. Although it was a difficult lead-in to manage and navigate all the pressure, but what a special moment to come down the finishing chute and just to enjoy it and have my moment. And yeah, it’s incredible.”
Duffy has suffered through the physical and mental torture that serious injury problems bring during recent years. But she said this victory made all of that pain worthwhile.
Many tears, many heartbreaks
“It was all worth it. There’s been many tears, many heartbreaks, many times I was like ‘am I ever gonna be healthy again, can I ever race at the top’.
“And I just kept believing, I have a really great support system around me, my coach is incredible.
“And so I just had to trust the process that I would be ready just in time.”