Flora Duffy — the power of winning

“What has been pretty amazing, and something I never thought about, is other people's reaction to the gold medal. I've traveled with that medal around the world and back again, and it feels like, everywhere I go, people want to see it. And their physical reaction to seeing it is incredible to witness.”

Only Flora knows what the crescendo of emotion felt like. The relief and the elation. The moment it was guaranteed — finish line in sight — is her memory. The textures, the atmosphere, the feeling of having the Bermuda flag wrapped around her shoulders can be triggered on-demand in high-definition to elicit the fullest joy.

While Flora owns that golden moment, it’s significance goes far beyond her own satisfaction. It reached and inspired people. A win so powerful that it left a memento in the minds of a nation.

“There's probably not a day that'll pass that somebody — whether I bump into them at the pool or the grocery store — will be, 'What day are you racing? Are you ready? How's training going?’ So I think that's also sort of like a defense mechanism for me of not over-thinking about it, because it's so much in my world already that I need to establish my boundaries. If I'm foam rolling or getting ready for a session, I'm probably not thinking about triathlon much at all.”

“I won a lot of races in Bermuda and people would always then get hyped up to say that I could be good. But you don't know because you're not comparing yourself to the rest of the world.”

“Some sessions or moments I'm visualizing being in a race, or what it will feel like in a race — your mind kind of drifts to that side of things. And then at other times, it’s just kind of like nothing. Just focusing on exactly what I'm doing. What numbers I'm meant to do or what pace I'm doing. And almost just forgetting about everything else. Forgetting that I'm preparing for a big race."

“The past races, sure, they give me confidence. But they're not things that I constantly think about and live in because I think you've got to keep moving forward."

Special thanks to Flora Duffy and Dan Hugo.

Words by Ross Lovell, Film by Johannes Gården Hurtig, Stills by Johannes Gården Hurtig and Ross Lovell