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Flora Duffy has dreamed of Olympic gold since she was a kid doing triathlon with her local club team on the tiny island of Bermuda. But the odds of it remaining just that—a dream—were stacked against her. After all, Bermuda had never won a gold medal in any sport in the Olympics. Before the Tokyo Games, the island nation (population: 62,000) had only one medal to its count, a bronze earned by boxer Clarence Hill in 1976.
Needless to say, Flora Duffy’s historic win in Tokyo earlier this week was a big deal. They’re also now the smallest nation, by population, to ever win a Summer Games gold medal. As she said in interviews throughout this week, the win meant so much more than just her dream, it also showed those back at home that even if you’re from a small island you can dream big.
The country might be small—shorter from end to end, in fact, that the entire distance covered in the Olympic triathlon race—but the response to Duffy’s win has been big. The nation rallied around their golden girl on social and in person. Here were some of our favorite #Bermuda reactions to the new pseudo-national holiday.
— Your kid’s favorite teacher. (@TLEMiller87) July 26, 2021
— Hugo Muñoz Rios (@1HugoMunoz) July 26, 2021
— BERMEMES | BERMUDA (@BERMEMES) July 26, 2021
Flora Duffy Day is on. I’m not waiting for government approval. #OlympicGames
— B͎ä͎l͎l͎d͎i͎ñ͎h͎ö͎ ™ 🇧🇲 (@Balldinho) July 26, 2021
— Jimothy👓🎀 (@Teela_Leeora) July 27, 2021
— Tari Trott 🇧🇲 #bermudian (@taritrott) July 27, 2021
🇧🇲 Hear me out. Flora Duffy Day – the Wednesday before Cup Match. 👀 #Bermuda
— Jorge D. Sanchez (@jdsanchez11) July 26, 2021
— Clifton (@CliftonW21) July 26, 2021
You came. You saw. You conquered – while the whole world watched.
— Jilliwerx (@jilliwerx) July 27, 2021
We are never ever gonna shut up about this and honestly why should we 😂@floraduffy has made history in an explosive way and deserves all the love she's getting for this now and forever
— 🖖🏾spinner of yarns🖖🏾 (@ThemysciranLady) July 27, 2021
— Yes Chef 🤌🏾 (@A1Fresh_) July 27, 2021
Let a girl try to skip gym class on this island going forward…
“YOU THINK FLORA DUFFY EVER SAT ON THE SIDE IN P.E.?!?”
— B͎ä͎l͎l͎d͎i͎ñ͎h͎ö͎ ™ 🇧🇲 (@Balldinho) July 27, 2021
Of course, there were some memes (@BERMEMES) that probably only made sense to Bermudians.
Bermudian artist Liz Andrade Arnold also commemorated Duffy’s win with a tribute to “Bermuda’s Golden Girl.”
Government officials in Bermuda were quick to celebrate their speedy constituent as well, leading many to believe “Flora Duffy Day” will soon be an official holiday in Bermuda—but so far the government has said they’re checking first with her family to find out when she’ll be landing back on the island, which may not be until she comes there to compete in the world mixed relay championships in Bermuda in October. (An event bound now to have the entire island turn out.)
— Premier David Burt (@BermudaPremier) July 26, 2021
Simply Awesome! Total domination! Congrats to a World Champion and now an Olympic Champion! So well deserved and 🇧🇲 is so proud of you!
Bermuda's first ever gold medal and the smallest nation ever to win one! @floraduffy pic.twitter.com/eL2Tw2lJ1h
— Hon Michael H. Dunkley JP, MP (@BDAMilkman) July 26, 2021
As Chair of the APPG for Bermuda, congratulations to triathlete Flora Duffy for winning the country's first ever gold medal. A great achievement in a very tough event. pic.twitter.com/CE0uUgSMus
— Sir David Amess MP (@amessd_southend) July 28, 2021
"It was just unbelievable": Family and friends of Bermuda's first Olympic gold medalist celebrate.
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) July 28, 2021
Flora Duffy's win in the Olympic triathlon meant that the country she represents — Bermuda — is now the smallest in the world to win a gold medal at the Games #Tokyo2020 https://t.co/kFUd7EbQIH pic.twitter.com/gV2tMJa7ci
— CNN International (@cnni) July 28, 2021
The rest of the world
The world has joined in on Duffymania as well, with public figures, celebrities, and athletes taking to social media to celebrate the newly-minted Gold medalist.
— Shaun Goater MBE (@OfficialSGoater) July 26, 2021
Congratulations to Flora Duffy of University of Colorado and Boulder and Bermuda in triathlon.
— Woody Paige (@woodypaige) July 26, 2021
Since I started triathlon in 2018, @floraduffy is the athlete I looked up to most, man or woman. Happy to see her win a gold medal today.
— Morgan Pearson (@_Morgan_Pearson) July 27, 2021
What an absolutely phenomenal race! So thrilled for the wonderful @floraduffy, @KZaferes6 & of course the amazing, gutsy, tenacious @georgiatb who won silver for GBR (even with a puncture!) Resilience & determination & pure entertainment. That’s what sport is all about. Amazing!
— Chrissie Wellington (@chrissiesmiles) July 27, 2021
— Craig Alexander (@CrowieAlexander) July 26, 2021
What does Duffy have to say
As for Duffy herself? Well, she’s a bit tired. She took to Twitter with a brief, yet poignant celebration—and then noted it’s been non-stop since Tuesday’s win. Once she gets some rest, we expect she’ll have much more to say.
I can’t quite believe it.
Olympic Champion. pic.twitter.com/P6C0ZpaP6x
— Flora Duffy (@floraduffy) July 27, 2021