LONDON, ENGLAND -- There's little question archery requires a level of focus and concentration beyond what most sports demand.
Scarborough archer Crispin Duenas focuses in on Olympic gold.
Archer Crispin Duenas, competing in his second consecutive Olympic Games, draws an arrow during a ranking round event at the 2012 London Olympics, on July 27, 2012. Duenas placed 8th with a score of 678 qualifying him for the elimination round. CP/COC
But for Scarborough's Crispin Duenas, who opened up his second Olympic Games by finishing eighth in the ranking round at the Lord's Cricket Ground in London Friday, that focus is broken down into two parts.
Considering he shot 72 arrows a distance of 70 metres, hit the 10-point middle ring 35 times and set an international personal best score of 678, it's safe to say he knows what he's doing.
"You don't stay focused for the whole time," he explained after the impressive performance. "You focus during your shooting, but then when you're not shooting, you sort of take your focus away, but you don't lose it completely. It's a wide focus versus a narrow focus, and when you're not shooting it's a wide focus. That's how you last for the whole day. If you were to focus narrow for the whole time, you'd just get burnt out."
While he didn't exactly burn out, Duenas admitted he slipped up a bit on the 12th and final round, falling from fifth to eighth.
But considering he finished 39th at the Beijing Games and came into these Games ranked 29th, he was certainly pleased enough.
"I'm very happy with finishing eighth," said the 26-year-old University of Toronto grad. "I'm sad that I could have finished in fifth, but I have to take the lumps that come with making bad shots. I didn't do 100 per cent great shots out there, I did about 80 per cent, so again I get what I put into it. If I don't put a really good effort on some shots, I'm not going to score 10. An eighth place finish for today is good enough, but I'm really looking to get that gold medal."
It appears if he is going to win gold, he will have to get through a potent South Korean team, which set both the individual and team world records Friday, the first official day of the Games.
Im Dong-Hyun broke his own world record, scoring 699 of a maximum 720 points, while his countrymen Kim Bub-min and Oh Jin-hyek were next in line, followed by local hero Larry Godfrey of Great Britain. American Brady Ellison, ranked No. 1 in the world, placed tenth.
Remarkably, Dong-Hyun is legally blind, with 20/200 vision in one eye and 20/100 in the other.
Duenas will now face Egypt's Ahmed El-Nemr (57th with 644 points) in the first head-to-head elimination round, which begins Monday.
He's neither looking past El-Nemr nor discounting a top podium finish.
"At this level anybody can beat you," he explained. "This is the Olympics. Everybody is great, so I'm just going to bring my A game to every match that I go to."
When asked, however, if he'd like to avoid the Koreans for as long as possible, he replied, "Yeah, I'd like to, but I hope I see them in the gold medal match."
Duenas didn't start into archery until he was 13, and in part due to a fascination with Robin Hood.
A Grade 8 teacher at John A. Leslie Public School in Scarborough recommended a club, the Archers of Caledon, and not long after that he was spotted by national team coach Joan McDonald, who was quick to recruit him.
McDonald, in fact, is still his coach, and one of the few females spotted in that role Friday.
"The female coach idea here is rare, it's usually male younger coaches, but I think I have one of the more experienced coaches on the field of play," Duenas said. "I mean she's been to five Olympics as the coach, so you can't ask for more than that, somebody who knows the game inside and out."
A talented musician who has also participated in gymnastics, swimming and karate, Duenas puts some eight hours of training, six days a week into the sport of archery.
In addition to the obvious range shooting, he works out three days a week to make sure his cardio, fitness and strength are maintained, and he also visits a sports psychologist on a regular basis.
"You can be super strong at this sport, but if you can't manage your head, you're not going to win anything," said Duenas, who used that mental strength to ignore the rain that fell mid-competition. "This rain was just a drizzle. I've shot in a lot worse than this. It will affect some, but if you're strong enough in the head, then you don't even think about the rain. You just accept it."
Duenas plans to pursue a career as a high school physics teacher after these Games, but that doesn't mean he's about to hang up the bow.
"I'm hopefully lasting for two more Olympics," he said. "You can still have a career, but the people who hire you have to be understanding that you're going to be away for three weeks every summer almost. As long as they're supportive of what you're doing, it's a lot easier."
Duenas earned Canada an Olympic spot by winning silver at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, then filled it himself by winning the national championships in May.