‘I’m looking for stars in my eyes’ – Barbelin reaches finals day in Tokyo

Lisa Barbelin celebrates at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have reached – and, perhaps, exceeded – expectations for Lisa Barbelin, who survived her first two matches of the women’s individual event on Thursday at the arena in Yumenoshima Park.

The source of conjecture lies in the world number two’s continued use of abstract metrics to measure her success. Rather than evaluate her performance in terms of points scored and matches won, Barbelin has applied less countable methods of appraising her chances at reaching the medal stand.

“I’m looking for atmosphere. I’m looking for stars in my eyes because it’s the Olympics,” Barbelin said prior to her debut at the Games. “I hope it will be very nice.”

The Frenchwoman appeared unphased in her victories over Italy’s Tatiana Andreoli and Gabriela Schloesser of the Netherlands to advance to Friday’s finals day and preserve her bid to become the first woman from France to win a medal in the individual event at the Games. 

Barbelin, however, was opaque in her description of what it will take for her to reach the podium against such a formidable field remaining in Japan.

“I think we can expect that I can do what I have to do, enjoy the moment, and be happy with what I’m delivering on the shooting line,” Barbelin said. “To simply love what I do.”

Lisa Barbelin shoots at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Such tactics have worked thus far for Barbelin, who briefly climbed to world number after winning the Antalya 2021 European Championships. The caveat then was that she usurped Kang Chae Young in the rankings due to Korea’s inactivity on the international circuit. 

As impressive as she looked against the competition in attendance, would she be able to hold her own against the world’s best?

Her performance in Tokyo has put such questions to rest. Not only has she dispatched some talented athletes in matchplay – but she’s done so with incredible form, posting 30s in the arena as if it were her back garden.

If Barbelin can continue her success in Tokyo, there will be no denying her place among archery’s elite. 

Whether she envisioned herself shooting this well or not, Barbelin is surely enjoying the early returns at her first Olympic event. 

“I am immensely happy to be here and to share all these moments with all the team and to do great things,” she said. “No matter what happens tomorrow, I just want to be proud of myself and come out of this competition with a lot of ambition for the rest of my career and stars in my eyes because I did some great things.”

Women’s finals day at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games takes place on 30 July 2021.