Tokyo Olympics: Joy in Bermuda as triathlete Flora Duffy claims gold

1:55 pm on 28 July 2021

With a population of just 63,000, Bermuda became the smallest nation or territory to win an Olympic gold medal at a summer Games when Flora Duffy won the triathlon in Tokyo.

Bermuda's Flora Duffy wins gold, Women’s Triathlon, Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Tuesday 27th July 2021. Mandatory credit: © John Cowpland /

Flora Duffy is draped in the Bermuda flag after her historic win. Photo: Photosport Ltd 2021

The 33-year-old, making her fourth appearance at an Olympics, came out on top of the 56-woman field with a time of one hour 55 minutes 36 seconds - more than a minute ahead of Great Britain's Georgia Taylor-Brown and USA's Katie Zaferes.

Bermuda already held the record for being the least populated country to win a summer Olympic medal thanks to a bronze for boxer Clarence Hill in 1976 but now they have their first gold medal winner.

"It's been a heck of a lot of pressure for five years," Duffy said.

"I would never recommend being an Olympic favourite for five years. Of course it's made it all worth it now.

"I think the whole of Bermuda is going crazy. That's what makes it so special to me is that, yes, this was my dream, but I also knew it was bigger than me."

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The enthusiasm for Duffy's success was confirmed by publican Reed Young who told First Up that the Docksider Pub and Restaurant in the Bermudan capital of Hamilton was humming as the race unfolded.

He hosted Duffy's parents and brother and members of the Bermuda Triathlon Association during the race.

"It's been a pretty phenomenal experience - there's a lot of emotion going on here right now."

He said while Duffy spent a lot of time training away from the island,"she is certainly loved by Bermudians".

Young said once Duffy got through the cycling stage, during which it was raining, spectators in the pub became excited.

Flora Duffy winds gold, Women’s Triathlon, Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Tuesday 27th July 2021. Mandatory credit: © John Cowpland /

Photo: Photosport Ltd 2021

"We're all so proud of her ...a gold medal for a nation of 60,000 people is just a phenomenal feat."

Duffy, who rejected the chance to represent Britain as a teenager, is already familiar with writing her name into the history books having become Bermuda's first female Commonwealth Games champion in 2018.

She added: "I'm just proud I could be Bermuda's first gold medallist, first female medallist, and hopefully inspire everyone back home that this is possible."

To put into context the size of Duffy's win, at 51km the triathlon event itself is longer than an end-to-end walk across the length of Bermuda (40km). It is 15 times smaller than New York.

A huge smile turned to tears of joy as she crossed the finish line as the realisation of what she had achieved sank in.

"I tried to just keep my composure and not allow my mind to drift to the fact that this was really happening until about the last kilometre of the run," Duffy said.

"I saw my husband, he's my coach, on the side of the road, and just gave him a little smile.

"From there I just sort of allowed all the emotions to come but I truly don't think it'll hit me until a couple of days from now."

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