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She stood proudly to the attention for God Save The Queen, her mum grew up in Burnley and her father comes from Barrow-in-Furness.

Prince Charles did the honours at Buckingham Palace when she was awarded the OBE, and her education was in Devon at Mount Kelly boarding school in Tavistock.

But Flora Duffy is the Olympic triathlon champion who got away from Britain – and from Team GB's gallant runner-up Georgia Taylor-Brown.

It would be stretching the point to say Duffy's allegiances went astray in the Bermuda triangle because she was born and bred on the Atlantic idyll which remains a British overseas territory.

Flora Duffy won gold in the women's triathlon for Team Bermuda at the Tokyo Olympics
(Image: Getty Images)

Even when she appeared on the radar of British Triathlon talent scouts, who could have offered her the riches of National Lottery funding, she stayed loyal to her native island.

And when Duffy romped home 74 seconds ahead of the impressive Taylor-Brown, in grimy weather more suited to Burnley or Barrow than Tokyo Bay, she turned Bermuda into the smallest nation (population 63,000) ever to win Olympic gold.

To put it into context: That's roughly the same population as Bognor Regis, Dewsbury or Brentwood.

Duffy, 33, said: “I hold dual nationality of British-Bermudian, but I’m born and raised in Bermuda – that’s where my heart is.

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“I have family in England and that’s special, so it is kind of nice that when God Save the Queen is played, it honours my British and Bermudian roots.

“There would have been a lot more funding and support if I had chosen to represent Britain. But being with Bermuda I was allowed to forge my own path, go through ups and downs, and take some time off sport to allow myself to develop as the racer that I am.

“I don’t think I would have been allowed to do that in the GB programme. I had to do what my heart said and, truthfully, crossing the line for Bermuda has always been the most special.”

And that OBE? Duffy must be in danger of being upgraded to Dame Flora now.

Team GB's Georgia Taylor-Brown claimed the silver medal in the event
(Image: REUTERS)

“That was definitely a huge surprise,” she said. “I got a call from our governor saying he wanted to speak to me, which was strange.

“He told me I had been nominated for an OBE and it was incredible going to Buckingham Palace to receive it. I met Prince Charles – it was very special, I’m so grateful.”

Taylor-Brown followed Alex Yee's silver medal in the men's triathlon 24 hours earlier with a startling performance after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in her femur only 12 weeks ago.

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She would have run Duffy even closer but for a cruel puncture on the last lap of the cycling leg which left her 22 seconds adrift at the final changeover – a gap the winner was never going to surrender.

Taylor-Brown, 27, admitted her silver medal felt like gold. She laughed: “I said to Flora straight away, 'At least we get to hear the national anthem.'

"Obviously it's strange to come into an Olympic Games not having raced since last September. I kept it all a bit private what was going on, but I got a stress response in my femur 12 weeks ago.

Flora Duffy's gold medal marks the first ever for Team Bermuda at the Olympics

“That was a bit of a shock – my training had gone so well before then, but you don't want to show your competitors any weaknesses.

“I did just say I was ill, but I've had six weeks of building my running back again. It's not perfect, it's not what I wanted. It's not anyone would want but I got myself as fit as I could have been on that start line today with the circumstances I faced.

“About a week before we flew out here, I had to prove that I was fit to compete, which was probably more stressful than the race itself because it could have been taken away from me.

"I had to do a 30-minute bike on my own at 260 Watts, and then I had to do a 2.5km run at 3.10 pace, which is all but race pace."