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The Philippines made history at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, but it isn’t the only country to win its first-ever Olympic gold medal at the global event. Bermuda can now add its name to that list as well, and also claim the accolade of being the smallest country to ever win gold. Representing Bermuda in Tuesday’s Women’s Individual Triathlon, Flora Duffy swam, biked, and ran her way to a decisive win—beating her closest competitor, Britain’s Georgia Taylor-Brown, by a full minute and 14 seconds.
Duffy’s performance is impressive not only because of the historic nature of her victory but also because of the obstacles she had to overcome to get there. After sustaining an almost career-ending injury during the Beijing 2008 Games, battling with anemia and depression, and recovering from a more recent foot injury that prevented her from competing for a year, just getting to Tokyo 2020 is surely a testament to the female triathlete’s talent, passion, and dedication. And to further contextualize the magnitude of her win, the 51-kilometer distance Duffy covered in the triathlon is longer than walking across the entire length of Bermuda—a country with a population of just over 62,000 and only two athletes total representing them at the Games.
“I think the whole of Bermuda is going crazy,” Duffy says of her victory. “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… I’m just proud I could be Bermuda's first gold medalist, first female medallist, and hopefully inspire everyone back home that this is possible.”