World number one Marcus D’Almeida looking to make Paris his own

Marcus d’Almeida was named athlete of the year 2023 by Brazil Olympic Committee.


Marcus D’Almeida was named athlete of the year by the Brazilian Olympic Committee in December 2023, then archer of 2023 by World Archery two months later.

There’s no doubt that the world number one has one goal in mind in 2024 – Paris, and the Olympic Games.

“These will be my third Games,” explains the 26-year-old. Having qualified Brazil a spot by coming third at the last worlds, he’s not officially been selected – but could they really pick anyone else? “I’ll be going there with a lot of experience, in a cycle where I’ve gained a lot.”

“It won’t just be the moment of Paris, it will be my moment, too.”

Marcus sets the tone. His affable smile and peaceful gait do not mask the determination in his amber eyes. The impression is one of quiet strength, of someone carrying no doubt.

The Brazilian prodigy is coming off an unprecedented year, in which he spent 11 out of 12 months as the world’s number one recurve archer. So, with the all-important outdoor season just around the corner, his thoughts are inevitably turned to the year’s main event.

The Brazilian will be going there with a wealth of experience behind him. A champion’s journey.

Marcus D’Almeida at home Games in Rio 2016.

Marcus D’Almeida’s path to glory started early. While most in his country – the land of football – dreamt only of the FIFA World Cup, Marcus found the bow.

In 2012, aged 14, he discovered his archery idol on television: fellow countryman Daniel Xavier, who was competing in the London Games.

Four years later, aged just 18, the Brazilian was selected for his home Olympics, in his hometown of Rio, alongside his role model.

The memory of those home Games will stay with him forever.

“I think the French will feel the same as I do: it’s a unique experience,” he says. “Everyone is there, as well as your family, and for me, there was even a group from a samba school who came to play, families from my neighbourhood.”

The pressure in Rio was crushing. And while Marcus didn’t live up to the hefty expectations, he learnt – and progressed – alongside Xavier and the rest of a Brazilian squad built for those home Games. He was learning the work ethic of a professional.

“He’s someone who trains a lot,” he says of Daniel. “He taught me what it really means to train, the volume of arrows shot. When I met him, archery was his main activity, and in Brazil, very few people devoted themselves entirely to shooting. It was motivating to be around him.”

More than seven years later, Marcus is Brazil’s main event.

And the young carioca has forged a powerful bond with Paris. He won the first Hyundai Archery World Cup stage of his career in the French capital in 2022, a moment that left a lasting impression.

“It’s a great memory,” Marcus recalls. “In the final, the French, the Parisians, decided to support me.“ 

“When I won, it took me a while to get off the shooting range because everyone wanted a photo, an autograph, to congratulate me, to say a few words to me.”

At 26, the young man knows how rare it is to develop a special relationship with the public. It‘s something he wants to nurture over the next four or five months leading into the next Olympic Games.

It doesn’t happen everywhere,” he concedes.

Most of the time, when the competition is over, people just leave. But I felt that the French liked what they saw, that there is a real love for archery in Paris.”

“It all made me happy. Now I tell myself that maybe they might support me again during the Games!”

But the world number one knows that before him, the French crowd will inevitably be supporting their own archers. Jean-Charles Valladont or Lisa Barbelin will have the home advantage – while having to deal with that popular pressure Marcus knows all too well.

Marcus D’Almeida wins first international World Cup stage in Paris 2022.

Building on his success and experience at the highest level, D’Almeida has learnt to tame major events.

He knows that the public’s enthusiasm and expectations must not become obstacles to performance.

“At the Rio Games, everyone wanted to talk to me, even the volunteers, the restaurant workers, everyone is trying to help you even more. You can feel that total support when you’re from the host country.” 

“There’s a strong energy around you, a beautiful energy,” he continues. “However, you also have to know how to handle the situation, because it’s a change from what you’re used to.”

“Sometimes it can become a bit too much, it can also distract you. You have to be able to control it.”

There’s a famous Brazilian expression – a tired horse can still win.

“Even when you feel worn down by all that energy, you have to be able to go out there and perform,” he explains.

It’s a concept that Marcus has mastered.

His schedule, since he started to attend indoor events almost 18 years ago, has become relentless.

And he’s performed, collecting a second stage win on the Hyundai Archery World Cup stages in Shanghai in 2023, as well as bronze at the Hyundai World Archery Championships in Berlin, before winning the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in Hermosillo, Mexico.

Marcus D’Almeida became Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion in 2023.

In the context of the grand dream, these are stepping stones. D’Almeida’s only now is to offer the French public the best version of himself.

And he arrives at these Olympics a more mature athlete.

“In reality, I just dream of producing the best shot I can at the Games,” he confides. “Because I know that if I shoot as well as I can, the result will come.”

I don’t want to put any pressure on myself. I just want to give it my best.”

Will this fantastic cycle – of picking up a bow a decade ago, of appearing at his home Olympics in 2016, to his emergence as an international power in 2021, and subsequent run of rules through 2023 – conclude in the city of light?

“Paris is an iconic city for Brazilians,” Marcus concludes. “It’s one of the most famous places in the world.”

“Nothing would make me happier than to make history, in France, in Paris, at the 2024 Olympic Games.”

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