FLORA DUFFY’S STEL­LAR YEAR

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - Marketplace -

IT IS EX­CIT­ING for a coun­try that could fit all its in­hab­i­tants into Toronto’s Rogers Cen­tre to be the home to the woman who won three dif­fer­ent world cham­pi­onships in 2016. Were it not for Gwen Jor­gensen tak­ing the Olympic gold medal and Daniela Ryf rip­ping up the Iron­man scene, Flora Duffy’s year would have put her on more than a few mag­a­zine cov­ers and re­ally put Ber­muda on the world triathlon map.

So how big a deal is it for Ber­muda that Flora Duffy is fly­ing so high these days? All the talk of her be­ing a po­ten­tial fac­tor in the Olympics was huge for the coun­try of 65,000. It’s not too of­ten they en­joy such sport­ing high­lights. To have her fol­low her eighth place in Rio with a huge win in Cozumel that net­ted her the ITU World Cham­pi­onship was even more ex­cit­ing. Duffy then ripped up the off- road triathlon cir­cuit with two more world ti­tles – the Xterra cham­pi­onship in Maui, Hawaii and then the ITU World Cross Cham­pi­onships in Aus­tralia.

While Duffy has been do­ing triathlons since she was a kid, her first real ath­letic suc­cess came in the pool – she rep­re­sented Ber­muda at the ju­nior Commonwealth Games in 2004. In ad­di­tion to her Rio ap­pear­ance she also com­peted at the games in Bei­jing (2008) and Lon­don (2012).

Those of us who have been in the sport for long enough here in On­tario re­mem­ber all the times we’ve seen large crews of triath­letes make the trip to Canada to com­pete dur­ing the sum­mer. This year there was an­other large crew from Ber­muda on hand for the na­tional cham­pi­onships in Ot­tawa. Be­lieve it or not, there was a time when the trav­el­ling Ber­muda squad was even big­ger. In 1990 there were 34 ath­letes from Ber­muda who took part at the ITU World Cham­pi­onships in Or­lando, Fla. That base no- doubt helped in­spire Duffy and fel­low Olympian Tyler But­ter­field to, well, Olympic heights. Their suc­cess will cer­tainly in­spire oth­ers to fol­low in their foot­steps.

With her in­cred­i­ble bik­ing skills one won­ders just how fast Duffy could be over a half- or full- dis­tance course. Who knows if she’ll ven­ture down that path over the next few years. Right now, though, it’s just ex­cit­ing to watch her do what she does so well – race with a go­for-broke style right from the gun that makes vir­tu­ally any race she’s in riv­et­ing to watch. That’s for all the rest of the world. For the 65,000 folks from Ber­muda, it’s even more of a thrill.– KM

BER­MUDA PROUD

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