Flora Duffy made history after winning Bermuda’s first Olympic medal in 45 years and its first-ever Gold.
The triathlete says the “pressure and expectation” on her was so great in the lead-up to the Games that she found it hard to cope.
Duffy, said she told her husband during the build-up: “I hope I never have to go through this amount of pressure again.”
Duffy, 33, was the tiny island’s best hope for an Olympic Medal in 45 years. Its only last and only Games medal was a bronze in 1976 in Montreal.
“It was hard to work through in the last few years,” she told i. “I think everyone in Bermuda was very excited and nervous, we don’t go into many Olympics with a legitimate chance to win a medal.
“So many connections and people in the community have played a role in me getting there, so I felt, ‘I have to deliver a Gold.'”
She swam, cycled and ran her way to the finish line with a time of 1:55:36 – more than a minute ahead of Great Britain’s Georgia Taylor-Brown, who won the silver medal.
“It’s definitely been a whirlwind, that’s for sure,” Duffy said, speaking from her training base in Boulder, Colorado. “The island is just so proud, it means a lot, I think, to a lot of people.”
She says the pressure “was a lot to deal with and cope with”, but was something to “get used to or get comfortable with” as a professional athlete. Her husband, retired South African triathlete Dan Hugo, and her training team in the US have been a big support.
Duffy worked with a sport psychologist and trained with team members in a “fun and positive environment” to help reduce the stress. She said: “Having them around to defuse any tension kept it fun and was a little bit of a distraction. It’s a really hard balance to get right, to not let that pressure get to you.”
When the pressure got too much, Duffy said she reminded herself that she “always wanted to be in this position” and to “enjoy that moment”. She had previously said that Tokyo would be her last Olympic Games, but is reconsidering competing in the 2024 Games in Paris since winning Gold.