Triathlete Flora Duffy enjoyed her moment after delivering the first Olympic gold medal in history for the tiny island of Bermuda in Tokyo on Tuesday. The 33-year-old athlete crossed the line in the women’s race in an hour and 55 minutes and 36 seconds. It was more than a minute ahead of Britain’s Georgia Taylor-Brown, with US athlete Katie Zaferes settling for bronze.

Duffy’s success makes Bermuda the smallest nation or territory in terms of population — around 70,000 — ever to win a gold medal at a Summer Games.

“I have achieved my dream of winning a gold medal, but also winning Bermuda’s first gold medal,” she said.

“It’s bigger than me and that’s a really cool moment. That was the longest kilometre of my life (the final one of the run).

“I think I can get used to being called Olympic champion for the rest of my life.”

Bermuda’s only previous Olympic medallist was boxer Clarence Hill, who won a bronze in 1976.

For Duffy, it was a welcome reward after persistent injuries and a diagnosis of anaemia in 2013.

She quit the sport after failing to finish the event at the 2008 Games and started working in a shop before studying for a degree. She returned to the sport later.

After taking control in the final minutes of the game, Flora had a big smile on her face as she crossed the finish line.

“I tried to just keep my composure and not allow my mind to drift to the fact that this was really happening until about the last kilometre of the run,” said Duffy.

“I saw my husband, he’s my coach, on the side of the road, and just gave him a little smile.

“From there I just sort of allowed all the emotions to come but I truly don’t think it’ll hit me until a couple of days from now.”