Duenas says archers have to be “perfectionists”

Crispin Duenas was talking to CBC Sports

Two-time Olympian Crispin Duenas has two Olympic experiences under his belt. His debut came in Beijing and he made it two in a row in London.

Neither Games went quite to plan for the Canadian athlete.

He qualified well in 2008 – in 16th – and better in 2012, shooting 678 points for the eighth seed. But at both Olympics, he fell out in the first round.

Rio, insists Crispin, will be different.

“I’m way more prepared than I ever was for Beijing and London. It’s an ongoing learning process. I try to learn from each thing I do, whether or not it’s related to archery, and I think that’s what has prepared for Rio,” he said.

Crispin shot a new Canadian record for the 70-metre round on the Olympic field at the test event in September 2015, of 685 out of a possible 720 points.

Even after 14 years of competing internationally, Crispin’s still finding room to improve. His drive, he explained, is rooted in his childhood.

“I remember nights staying up late practising piano and my mom or my dad would be listening to me,” he explained. “If I made the smallest mistake, I’d hear yelling from the kitchen: ‘Nope, do it again’.”

That perfectionism spilled over into his schoolwork, after his parents started giving him a cash reward for every perfect test he had, and into sport.

“For archery, and any other sport, you have to be a perfectionist to be able to achieve your goals,” Crispin said.

Duenas explained that over the years, and through work with a sports psychologist, he’s stopped searching for the perfect shot with every arrow. Instead, he’s working on making every shot really good, “any your average will come up until it’s perfect”.

Though demanding of his own hard work, Duenas has come to terms with dealing with his own expectations.

“As a young teenager, I had the temper tantrums. One of the first steps that was really important for me to learn was that what I was doing was not actually helpful,” said Crispin. “The really good, composed athletes will have their little moment to have a temper tantrum and then it’s over.”

It is clear that in this athlete the line between academic and the sporting greys, as Crispin takes the same determined approach to both. In Rio, at his third Olympic Games, Duenas will hope that his dedication – and his perfectionism – pays off.

The archery competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games starts on the 5 August in the Sambodromo.