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National holiday honour for Duffy


National holiday honour for Duffy
Women's Olympic triathlon champion, Flora Duff of Bermuda - (GP)

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HAMILTON – A one-off national holiday to honour Bermuda’s first Olympic gold medal winner Flora Duffy, a three-time women’s world champion, was declared by the government on Friday.

The government named Monday, October 18, as Flora Duffy Day in recognition of the 33-year-old triathlete’s recent success in Tokyo.

The move came after social-media calls to mark Duffy’s magnificent achievement after she became Bermuda’s first Olympic gold medal winner on July 28, having failed to medal at earlier Games in Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro.

Only heavyweight boxer Clarence Hill had previously won an Olympic medal for Bermuda, taking bronze at the 1976 Games in Montreal, Canada.

Premier David Burt said: “It is a fitting tribute to have a day to recognise and honour Flora Duffy’s historic accomplishments.

“Her achievements propelled Bermuda onto the international stage, and we look forward to welcoming her home and celebrating with her and all her fans.”

Burt said Sports Minister Ernest Peets would unveil a timetable of events for the day that would “also allow us to connect the arc of Bermuda’s Olympic history and also include Bermuda’s first Olympic medallist, bronze medal winner Clarence Hill”.

Members of the public called for a street or the national sports centre to be named after Duffy and for her to be added to the list of national heroes.

The holiday will follow the World Triathlon Sprint & Relay Championships, which Bermuda is hosting from October 15 to 17.

Duffy is expected to be a competitor having won the World Triathlon Series race three years ago in the island in spectacular fashion.

The same year, Duffy won the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Australia and received the OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s birthday honours list for services to sport in Bermuda.

Last month, Duffy, who divides her time between Bermuda, South Africa – her husband Dan Hugo’s home country – and her training camp in the American city of Boulder in the state of Colorado, was crowned women’s world champion in Canada for a record-equalling third time.

Duffy not only emulated the achievement of three-time title winner Emma Snowsill of Australia, but she became the first triathlete in history to win Olympic gold and the World title in the same year.