Flora Duffy claims first gold medal
Women’s triathlon favourite Flora Duffy lived up to her pre-race billing to claim the first gold medal of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Southport Broadwater Parklands on Thursday 5 April.
The World No.1 finished in a time of 56 minutes and 50 seconds, with England’s Jessica Learmonth claiming silver, 43 seconds behind, and Canada’s Joanna Brown taking bronze a further five seconds later.
Duffy will also go down in her country's history books as the first female Commonwealth Games gold medallist. It is Bermuda's second gold medal following Clarence Saunders win in the men's high jump at the Auckland 1990 games.
"I came in the favourite so that adds its own pressure. For me it was personal, I wanted to do well," Duffy said.
"I'm tired, Jess (Learmonth) was phenomenal. I held onto her, we work well together, we race so often together that we have an understanding.
It's gonna take a while to soak in - it's a very cool feeling."
In windy conditions, Learmonth led from the start of the swim and was out of the water in at time of 9:04, with Duffy six seconds and Australia’s Gillian Bachkhouse a further 24 seconds back.
But it wasn’t long until Duffy, the two-time world champion, caught Learmonth on the bike, with both of them transitioning to the run in 39:23 - a pack of nine athletes were more than one minute behind.
And that is where the 30-year-old Duffy, who won six out of seven races on the international circuit last year, kicked away, opening a 29-second gap on the first lap before finishing with plenty of time to spare and the Bermuda flag draped over her shoulders.
Duffy, who finished eighth at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, Glasgow 2014 and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, will also compete in mountain bike at CG2018.
"I am getting used to the pressure - from 2016 (winning the ITU World Championships) I had to get used to it, it is the space in which I am. There will be media and people watching me, so I just try to forget about it and do my thing - I've always dreamed of this so I can't let it get to me.
"I am from a tiny country with not a lot of medallists so I am expected to win. I try to forget about it because I do it every week, so that's how I deal with the pressure.
"There's a 50-foot poster of me in town. Being an introvert it gets a bit much, but it's great to inspire."
Learmonth gutted out the run to hold on to the silver medal, with Brown winning a sprint finish for bronze.