The Caribbean island of Bermuda officially has its first-ever gold medal at the Olympic Games, thanks to the efforts of Flora Duffy. The 33-year-old triathlete won the women's event on July 26 in Tokyo, Japan, after a delayed start caused by unfavourable weather conditions affecting the course in Tokyo Bay. Her victory also gives Bermuda the distinction of being the least populous country ever to win Olympic gold:
Hey @BERMEMES I fixed it! Hail to Bermuda’s FIRST EVER Gold medalist #floraduffy!! ???? #bermuda pic.twitter.com/WYiafq2M69
— ?BROOKESY? (@brookesymusic) July 27, 2021
Duffy completed the course in a time of 1:55:36. The two other medallists were Britain's Georgia Taylor-Brown, who finished a minute and 14 seconds behind Duffy to cop the silver medal, and American Katie Zaferes, who finished in third place with a time of 1:57:03:
She was over a minute ahead of second place✌️#floraduffy #OlympicGames pic.twitter.com/x2QkVKjxpC
— PandeyG (@MrPandeyG) July 27, 2021
THAT REALLY JUST HAPPENED!!! ??????#floraduffy
— Stephanie (@sgibbles11) July 26, 2021
In the midst of stormy conditions, Duffy remained steady throughout. She emerged from the swim leg among the first batch of competitors, and was among the first three at the end of the first lap of the bike stage. By the second lap, she was leading the pack, and kept up a good pace throughout this stage of the race.
It was on the opening lap of the run, however, that Duffy really made a serious play for the win. She continued to push ahead on subsequent laps, continuously increasing the time gap between herself and her nearest competitors, and looking sure and strong as she crossed the finish line to give the country of her birth its first taste of Olympic gold medal glory:
@floraduffy you made Bermuda and all of us proud! What a fantastic ‘golden’ performance from start to finish. Congratulations! Amazing! #GoldMedal #floraduffy pic.twitter.com/8tgoGZXVmR
— Marie Hargun ? (@Marietwit) July 27, 2021
On the other side of the world, her compatriots celebrated the significance of her win:
The sense of patriotism with #floraduffy today is amazing. We need to continue this to support all of our athletes as they work towards their Olympic goals.
— Catherine A Kempe, JP (@catherine_kempe) July 26, 2021
In households across the island, air horns were being sounded in jubilation:
People in my neighbourhood are blowing their airhorns! We love to see it!!!!! #OlympicGames #FloraDuffy
— Jimothy?? (@Teela_Leeora) July 26, 2021
Anybody got an air horn???#GoFloraGo #floraduffy #Bermuda pic.twitter.com/QnxD1PsfBB
— Gary Foster Skelton (@FosterSkelton) July 26, 2021
Understandably, many Bermudians got emotional over the victory:
I’m not crying you are ??????????#floraduffy #bermuda #TokyoOlympics
— M.Goater (@Keeby82) July 26, 2021
My kids got to witness history today. That's something I'll never forget. I wasn't alive to see Clarence Hill win his bronze. But I'm so glad we got to witness this moment ??? #olympictriathlon #floraduffy
— Jevon (@jevon_5) July 27, 2021
Hill, Bermuda's first Olympic medallist who took home a bronze medal in Boxing at the 1976 Montreal Games, said that Duffy's triumph reignited his long-held faith in the potential of Bermudian athletes.
Meanwhile, a few social media users were inspired enough to compose songs (or at least play them):
?she’s a Duffy conqueror…?
A Bermudian won de ?athlon…at de age of 33.
Last medal was bronze.
Now it’s gold…
They call that alchemy #floraduffy #Triathlon #champ
— 2Puff Shakur :| (@ELSomner1) July 27, 2021
Hey Siri, play “Proud to be Bermudian”#OlympicGames #FloraDuffy #ProudToBeBermudian pic.twitter.com/AKflx0U75W
— Jimothy?? (@Teela_Leeora) July 27, 2021
Twitter users expressed just how much of a unifying force—and source of pride—Duffy's performance was for the country:
Panini arguments. Cup Match Banter. Vax/no Vax Everything on pause when we stop to support one of our own. Got to ❤️ Bermuda Twitter. #floraduffy #Tokyo2020
— Clifton (@CliftonW21) July 26, 2021
CONGRATULATIONS @floraduffy #floraduffy We're bursting with pride. You did it!! #Bermuda’s first ever #Olympic gold??? ??♀️??♂️??♀️#OlympicGames #Tokyo2020 #Olympics #Triathlon #Bermuda #ProudtobeBermudian ?? pic.twitter.com/qpIouMYWAZ
— Shari-Lynn ?? (@shaeyd) July 26, 2021
Some social media users dubbed Duffy the greatest of all time, while for others, the sight of their country's flag flying highest at the Games, accompanied by the playing of their national anthem, was incredibly moving:
When this is the medal pole! Go #floraduffy Duffy Hill please @BermudaPremier pic.twitter.com/aduTjH1vth
— Briley Habib (@Map_Addict) July 27, 2021
Duffy demonstrated that she was both physically and mentally ready for this race, and—unlike her competitor Georgia Taylor-Brown, who lost precious time on the bike leg due to a flat tyre—did not have to contend with any mishaps. Many of her fellow citizens, however, felt in some measure that their support and good wishes must also have counted for something:
Commentator just said #floraduffy hears the bell and she MUST hear the cheers from Bermuda!
— NeverODDOreven (@PalindromeGnome) July 26, 2021
Yes there will be parade and there better be a national holiday. This is HISTORIC! Oh and she’s our National Hero for 2022. Not up for discussion! #FloraDuffy #Bermuda #Olympics ???
— Christopher Douglas (@dark_river89) July 27, 2021
One Twitter user summed up her achievement simply and eloquently:
What a feeling that must be. #floraduffy #BER
— 2Puff Shakur :| (@ELSomner1) July 27, 2021