World Champ Nico Wiener: "I'm just me"

Austria's Nico Wiener in action at Yankton 2021

Just over 250 days ago, Austria’s Nico Wiener beat Mike Schloesser to win the 2021 outdoor world title at the Hyundai World Archery Championships in Yankton.

Back then he said "I don't have words for it," but now he does, especially those relating to his perfect last end of 30 points to take the match, 146-143.

"Mike shot the (first) 10 and in my head I was going ‘okay you need to match this’," said the 25-year-old who went into the final end 116-115 ahead.

"It was a little bit shaky [when I shot] because of the wind, but it (arrow) broke really clean and I shot the X. I was like; 'phew, the first one is in’."

So far, so good.

The then world number 28 saw Schloesser's next arrow hit the 9, a 10 would put him 136-134 ahead going into the last arrow.

It was another X.

"The second X was like; ‘okay, you need to shoot a nice shot’, then I hit it. I had one point to play with."

Another nine from Mister Perfect and the (still) world number one meant Wiener only needed an 8 to win. It would also mean a double victory over the Dutchman after his Austria men's team beat the Netherlands for bronze earlier in the day.

"With the last shot you just hope no wind is coming," he explained. "The wind was in the middle and I made a nice shot, that’s all."

Typically understated from the Austrian, it was his third, consecutive X and, with it, the world championship.

"I was thinking it needs to be a 10. It was a really nice shot, it broke really clean and when everybody started saying '10' the full emotions were coming, I was like, 'wow'."

"At the end you realise you can lose a lot because when you're leading by one point and shoot bad arrows then you're not in such a comfortable situation anymore. I tried to focus on three nice shots and that was all I needed to do. It was three Xs. It was perfect."

A title as prestigious as world champion can never be taken away and in the months that have followed Yankton, the now world number two has had time to reflect on his achievement.

"Everybody dreams about this title because it's the highest world title in world archery," said Wiener. "You’re shooting against the best of the best and try to keep pace with them."

"I have no words for this (title). I'm speechless. It was like a dream and it feels amazing. In 2015 I won the World 3D Championships. I was just going there as a reserve, but Yankton just feels a lot better. It's really difficult to be in with the top guys and match with them."

"When I came home my parents [were] at the airport with other people and then I realised, ‘wow, I really achieved that dream’. My parents were more proud than me. They really made a party at home and I'm really thankful because they really supported me. My dad also competed on the international stage and he helped me improve myself and my game to the next level."

So far this season Wiener has has registered a fourth place in the second stage of the 2022 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Gwangju and an individual fifth and men's team silver place in the 2022 Veronica's Cup world ranking event.

Currently in Munich for the 2022 European Championships where he seeded second in qualification, Wiener will commence his individual campaign later today.

And that world title is a reminder of his the quality he possesses if things do not necessarily go his way.

"Sometimes you have a bad tournament but you think about what you have achieved and that gives you a lot of confidence again because you have achieved something really big in the world," he said. "I try to have fun, shoot for myself, give all what I can and then see if the results will come."

"It's really difficult to say," added the Austrian about repeating his World Championship gold or claiming a World Cup Final gold. "You can only try and give your best, try to focus and have fun. That's all that matters. When you have fun and shoot good, success will come."

"I try to improve every time, every arrow. I'm improving every day and hopefully I can compete with these guys for a really long time. I don't see me as the man to beat. I'm just me. I'm shooting for myself and having fun."

At nearly two metres tall, much has been said about the height of Wiener, one of the tallest on the circuit, but he disagrees with the title of being a big man, preferring to discuss the complexities, positives and negatives which come with it.

"I’m not that big, but I have really long arms. I’m around 1,94m tall," says a smiling Wiener.

"Sometimes it's really good, sometimes it's not so good. I have a custom-made bow from Hoyt and I'm really thankful because it fits my draw length. When I got this bow I shot better because of my draw length, it was more stable." 

"I got a lot of speed out of it and can shoot really heavy arrows. But to find the right spine on the arrows is a little bit different. My draw length is around 33" so the normal Invicta (bow) is 32" so I got special limbs which fit my draw length."

"The perfect draw length is the most important thing to perform under pressure and make your (competition) shots like training. When you don't have the correct draw length you are not aiming like you want or your shots don't feel like you want. The draw length is really important."

So was this the secret to the Yankton success for the Austrian who works at a construction company and rides motocross with his brother in the small amount of spare time he does have?

"It's difficult to say. It was all working together. It's maybe 20 small pieces and when they all come together then you see the result."

"Everybody in Austria says ‘oh you’re so big, you have so much speed’. In the end it's just not important how tall you are, it's how you shoot and how you can repeat your shots."

Wiener will be hoping he can repeat some of his 2021 perfect-under-pressure arrows in 2022 and make this year another golden one.