Nicholas D’Amour: I can win in Lausanne
It was an innocent comment – more of an observation than a question.
You look so chilled.
“Chilled?” Nicholas D’Amour replied. “In what way?”
“Yeah, I’m relaxed,” the recurve archer from the US Virgin Islands confirmed after advancing to the final four of the second stage of the 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup.
“Right now, I’m just in the present moment,” D’Amour continued. “A lot of people, they like to get themselves hyped up, or they’re overly happy. But for me, the job isn’t done yet. I like to focus on the present and focus on my next match.”
D’Amour could be excused for taking a moment to celebrate. The breakout star of this international season won his quarterfinal match over top seed Mauro Nespoli in a tiebreak on Wednesday, recovering from a 5-3 deficit to force a shoot-off and deliver an excellent 10 to win the match.
Yet D’Amour remains steadfast in his disregard for discussing past accomplishments. The 19-year-old credits his success in stressful circumstances to his ability to remain in the present, especially when the stakes are highest.
“I was down, 5-3, because I started disconnecting from the present – I was disconnecting from my process and my shooting,” D’Amour said. “I decided, you know what, it’s either going to be now or never. I just relaxed, focused on myself, focused on the present moment and I shot a 29.”
Nespoli shot a 27 to initiate a tiebreak – a situation in which D’Amour continues to excel. He has weathered two shoot-offs so far in Lausanne and has an 80% win rate in tiebreaks in his career.
“I have a lot of confidence in shoot-offs because I win so many, honestly,” D’Amour said, allowing himself a chuckle. "I don’t know why. I just have this thing for shoot-offs. I’m really good with shoot-offs."
This level of self-assurance comes as no surprise to those who have followed D’Amour’s young career. His scores have improved dramatically over the past two years, having spent time training intensely in the United States, and he has watched his world ranking jump from 138 to a career-best 20 entering Switzerland.
It’s going to be even higher when the new list is released next week.
After the 2021 European Grand Prix in Antalya, D'Amour professed aspirations of not just qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, but winning them, along with a litany of additional superlatives that include the number one ranking in the world.
He enters this weekend’s final four among a group that includes the current number one Brady Ellison, as well as surprise semifinalist Yun Sanchez and Max Weckmueller, who D’Amour will face first on Sunday.
D'Amour knows how close he is to manifesting his lofty goals into reality. A strong finish here in Lausanne is just the next step in the grand scheme he’s arranged for himself.
“I know that … if I want to have a good shot [to qualify for Tokyo] in Paris and in the Olympics … that I need to practise in the finals venue more, and the only way to practice in the finals venue is to make the finals,” D’Amour said. “This is just practice for Paris and for the Olympics. I really want to just go to the finals here and see what I can learn.”
Can you win?
“Can I win here? Yeah, definitely,” D’Amour said. “Definitely, I can win."
Archers are listed in match order, with their seed in brackets. The first two archers face each other in the first semifinal, the second two in the second semifinal.