For most people, October 18 this year would have been just another Monday.

There was nothing particularly special about it, unless you happened to live in Bermuda.

In September, the island's Government declared that October 18 would be a public holiday known as Flora Duffy Day, in honour of Bermuda's history-making triathlete.

Duffy, racing in the searing Japanese heat, became the first Bermudian to win Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020. To say her compatriots were thrilled with her achievement would be something of an understatement.

"We had a big concert in the park, they created stamps with her photo on it," said Donna Raynor, Bermuda's Chef de Mission for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

"One of our companies that produces rum created a special drink for her. 

"We named a street after her and part of the National Sports Centre.

"I'm sure the majority of Bermudians watched that race." 

Flora Duffy made history for Bermuda at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games ©Getty Images
Flora Duffy made history for Bermuda at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games ©Getty Images

Duffy's victory broke a record for Bermuda as it is now the territory with the smallest population to have won Olympic gold.

Around 64,000 people call the island home, and if they head down to South Field Stadium they will find that it now bears Duffy's name. 

A trip to Corkscrew Hill, which has been part of World Triathlon Series races in Bermuda, is no longer possible as the name has been scrubbed from the map.

It's now known as - you guessed it - Flora Duffy Hill.

Duffy won the Commonwealth Games title at Gold Coast 2018 and has made Birmingham a target, quashing speculation that she might now retire.

The 34-year-old will undoubtedly be the star attraction for Bermuda, the team which notably marches in the island's famous shorts at Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

"She had said she was going to retire after the Olympics," said Raynor to insidethegames. "I think she has rethought that, she's even talking about going as far as Paris 2024. 

"She'll more than likely be at the Commonwealth Games."

The next generation of Bermudian triathletes are now starting to emerge thanks to Duffy's inspiration.

"They had an event where they had 97 children, they had a mini-triathlon and she was there to greet the children," said Raynor.

"We do have quite a few children who participate in triathlon and I'm sure that number will increase."

Raynor, who recently stepped down as Bermuda National Athletics Association President after 12 years, knows all about competing for the territory after racing internationally in the 800 and 1500 metres.

She was denied the chance to feature at the Commonwealth Games, however, as Bermuda boycotted Edinburgh 1986 alongside a string of other countries due to the British Government's policy towards apartheid-era South Africa.

It was an extremely late withdrawal as Bermuda got as far as marching at the Opening Ceremony before eventually pulling out.

"The unfortunate thing is the year I would have gone to the Commonwealth Games, we didn't go to the Games," said Raynor. "That was the year I was supposed to go.

"Sport has been my life.

Bermuda famously march in their iconic shorts at major events ©Getty Images
Bermuda famously march in their iconic shorts at major events ©Getty Images

"Just standing on the podium with your Bermuda colours on is something that you will never, ever forget. 

"I was in university on a track scholarship for four years, and I have represented Bermuda from when I was young until when I stopped running. 

"So it's been fantastic. Then I got involved in the administration side, and with the Bermuda Olympic Association. Sport is a big part of my life." 

Raynor has served as Chef de Mission at the Central American and Caribbean Games, as well as team manager at the London 2012 Summer Olympics.

Bermuda currently has 10 places confirmed for Birmingham 2022, and hopes to compete in athletics, cycling, swimming and squash, as well as triathlon.

It is hoped that the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) will provide the team with extra slots, however.

"We have way more than 10 athletes who have reached our qualifying standard," said Raynor.

"It's difficult for us as we've got to go through and figure out who we send and who we don't send.

"We have athletes who have really put in the effort and we're not sure if we'll be able to take them to the Games.

"But I understand that these Games are getting bigger and bigger, and the cost is getting bigger and bigger, so you have to do something to cut back. 

"I understand but I feel for the athletes. They have put the effort in for years, looking forward to the Games, and we've got to tell them 'I'm sorry but you can't go because we've only been allocated a certain amount of spots.'"

Bermuda did crown a Commonwealth Games champion before Duffy, with Clarence "Nicky" Saunders winning the high jump title in Auckland in 1990.

COVID-19 has affected preparations this time, and there was huge disappointment when the island's planned hosting of the World Triathlon Sprint and Relay Championships in October was cancelled.

The Butterfield Bermuda Championship signalled the return of sport on the island ©Getty Images
The Butterfield Bermuda Championship signalled the return of sport on the island ©Getty Images

This denied Duffy the chance to race on home soil, and the CARIFTA Games, a major regional athletics event, was also called off.

The successful staging of golf's Butterfield Bermuda Championship in October, a leg of the PGA Tour, was seen as a sign of things beginning to return to normal.

"It had a big impact," said Raynor. "Sport has been up and down and we were only allowed a certain amount of athletes to be together at the same time. 

"All of the sporting bodies have had to get quite creative with how to carry on. It's definitely been rough on sports."

Some of Bermuda's athletes are based at home, with others overseas or at university as Birmingham 2022 approaches.

"We receive information from the CGF probably every single day," said Raynor. "We had a meeting and I thought it was very well organised. All of the information being sent out to us, they are putting a lot of effort into it. 

"I think they are doing an excellent job so far. I'm looking forward to the meeting in January. We'll get to see everything, the living facilities and the competition facilities. That should be good."

Before the Games, Raynor will have a lot to do across her various sporting roles.

"I do have a full time job as well," she said. "I fit it in. My job is project management, so I've learnt to juggle several roles. 

"I just keep on doing it."