XTERRA racers and fans around the world rejoice as five-time XTERRA World Champion Flora Duffy, “one of our own,” captures Olympic gold at the Tokyo Games.
HEY, WE KNOW HER!
One of the most personable athletes on the XTERRA Planet just won GOLD, and she did it in dominating, awe-inspiring fashion.
It’s the first gold medal for Bermuda, and the first-time a reigning XTERRA World Champ took the top spot at the Olympics (Note: Hamish Carter won XTERRA Worlds in 2006, two years after his gold medal performance in Athens).
“We are over the moon excited for Flora and so happy for her and Dan, and for Bermuda,” said XTERRA President, Janet Clark. “She achieved her lifelong dream and won it for her country, it’s fabulous.”
Duffy raced off-road for the first time at XTERRA Beaver Creek in 2013. She finished sixth that day and said she would never do another one … “because that was brutal.” Lucky for all of us, she did do another one.
"I think XTERRA really aided my success on the road.”
“After the first XTERRA I did in 2013, I swore I was never going to do that again,” Duffy said in an interview a few years later. “Thankfully, I did, and it sort of led me to finding myself in triathlon. Here you are racing against yourself, you have to do everything to get through the race, so I’ve kind of taken that to the road side of life. I’m going to race my own race and shape the race to suit my strengths. I think XTERRA really aided my success on the road.”
At Duffy’s second XTERRA, the 2013 World Championship, Nicky Samuels won the title and Lesley Paterson out-sprinted Flora in the finish chute to finish second. Duffy was third, but thrilled to have done so well and had so much fun.
The real turning point in her XTERRA evolution, however, came that winter she spent riding with XTERRA Hall of Famer Dan Hugo and two-time XTERRA World Champion Bradley Weiss.
“After Maui that year I was based in Stellenbosch training and living with Dan and Brad,” she explained in a February 2014 interview. “Those three months in South Africa were amazing. Training with those two everyday inspired me to ride my mountain bike and pursue XTERRA. Stellenbosch offers an amazing lifestyle because it is safe, pretty, there are loads of great places to eat, copious amounts of vineyards to visit, and of course there is Jonkershoek - a nature reserve which offers miles of great trails for riding and running.”
In 2014, Duffy won the XTERRA World Tour season-opener in South Africa (her first of four straight in the Western Cape), swept through the U.S. Pro Series with wins in Las Vegas, Pelham, Richmond, and Ogden, won the first of two XTERRA Asia-Pacific titles in Australia, and the first of her unprecedented five XTERRA World Championships. Her only blemish, and the last time she didn’t win an XTERRA race she started, was in August that year when she placed 2nd to Kathrin Mueller at XTERRA Germany which was doubling as ITU Cross Tri Worlds.
She’s won 12 straight XTERRA races since, and 17 of 20 in her career (which doesn’t include two ITU Cross Tri World titles).
Through the trials of all those races Duffy has lived the full XTERRA experience. She’s flatted, flew over the handlebars and into the bushes, tumbled on the run, sludged through mud, and dealt with mechanicals just like every other racer in the XTERRA Family.
From XTERRA in South Africa to the Southeast Region, Albay in the Philippines to Callala Bay in Australia, Flora inspired kids to get active, roadies to go off-road, and all of us to strive to be our best.
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
And now she is an Olympic Champion.