Flora Duffy, one of the women expected to compete for the gold medal in Tokyo this summer, suffered a setback to her Olympic preparation this weekend while training in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
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Broke my hand Saturday morning. Swimming. Can you believe it?! In the last 15m of a fast 400m my left hand hit the lane rope. My pinky finger got caught, pulled backwards and snapped my 5th metacarpal. Today I had surgery to repair the fracture. Luckily the recovery is quick and I’ll be back training in no time.
The two-time ITU world champ from Bermuda seems to be confident she’ll bounce back soon, based on an Instagram post in which she described the injury.
“In the last 15m of a fast 400m my left hand hit the lane rope,” she wrote. “My pinky finger got caught, pulled backwards and snapped my 5th metacarpal.”
She had surgery to repair the fracture yesterday and reports that “the recovery is quick and I’ll be back training in no time.”
Duffy won the 2016 and 2017 ITU world championship, then was out of competition for over a year due to a foot injury. She bounced back to competition in style last summer, taking the Tokyo Test Event (after Jessica Learmonth and Georgia Taylor-Brown were disqualified for trying to tie for first), then finished fifth at the Grand Final in Lausanne last September.
Possibly the best cyclist in the sport, during her run of titles in 2016 and 2017 Duffy routinely dominated ITU races on the bike, then held off her competition on the run. She’ll be competing in her fourth Olympics this summer and the expectations are high for the multi-time world champion – Bermuda has only had one other Olympic medalist, Clarence Hill’s bronze medal in boxing at the Montreal games in 1976. She didn’t finish the triathlon in Beijing, was 45th in London and eighth in Rio.
In addition to being formidable on the road, Duffy has won five Xterra world titles and has also taken two ITU cross world titles. She’s so good when it comes to off-road riding that she was actually set to represent Bermuda in the mountain bike event after winning the triathlon, but ended up withdrawing to save herself for the debut ITU World Triathlon Bermuda. she won that race in her typical dramatic breakaway style, thrilling the huge local crowd.
Earlier this season Duffy won her debut half-distance race, taking Ironman 70.3 South Africa and earning herself a spot at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Taupo, New Zealand in November.