With his famous flat cap and flair with bow in hand, Patrick Huston oozes confidence and he isn’t afraid to show it.
This is the man, after all, who took motivational notes during the individual men’s ranking session in Rio, ‘I am the 2016 Olympic champion’ at the very top of the list.
But while his Brazilian adventure didn’t quite go to plan – missing out at the last 32 stage – the Northern Irish archer’s performances have since gone from strength to strength.
From double gold at the Veronicas Cup to two medals at last month’s European Field Championships in Slovenia, throw in a career-best World Cup finish and it’s little wonder the 21-year-old boasts such a winning mentality.
He’s on an upwards trajectory and isn’t going to slow down any time soon, with plenty more Olympic appearances fixed on the agenda.
“It was great to become an Olympian at the age of 20. The average age of an Olympic archer is about 28, so that means I’m about two cycles ahead,” said Huston.
“It gave me more verification of my abilities. I won three World Championship titles as a junior, and to be able to go to the Olympics while still technically a junior showed that I’m at a standard where I have a good mental game and competitive ability in the seniors.
“People can do archery until late in their lives, so my career could be impressively long.
“Getting to the Olympics was one of those tick boxes of the absolute top-level athletes, and to have achieved that with many years of my career ahead of me is very pleasing.”
But while his Olympic ambitions burn brighter than ever, Huston’s focus is on the here and now, with individual silver and team bronze at August’s European Field Championships his latest triumphs.
His achievements in Mokrice capped a year in which Huston has experienced great success, but he’s well aware the season’s not over yet.
“Archery is a sport that never really stops. My indoor season wasn’t anything particularly spectacular, but the outdoor season has been an absolute blast for me,” he said.
“I opened up the season by going to the Veronicas Cup in Slovenia, where I took individual gold and mixed team gold.
“It was a world ranking event so it pushed my world ranking into the top 20 for the first time.
“It’s been noticeably my best season so far, which is great after the mental comedown of not reaching my targets in Rio.
“The European Field Championships were the highlight of my year. I’ve done a lot of tournaments internationally as a senior, but this was the first field championships so to be able to come home with two medals was awesome.
“Coming away from the European Championships with a medal is another tick on the pathway, but while I still don’t feel I’m at the level I’d like to be, it shows that I’m on the right track.”
Next up for Huston is next month’s World Championships in Mexico City, where he’s determined to make amends for what he missed out on in Rio.
But a podium finish won’t quite be enough – it’s a case of gold or bust for Huston and anything less will be an opportunity missed.
“I’ll be bringing home a medal. I’ll definitely be a world champion when I come home,” he said.
“I perform better under higher pressure, and with the World Championships being the biggest competition of the year, I’ll be bringing out my best game.
“Our team is also going to be the strongest we’ve had in a long time. Our new kid on the block, Alex Wise, has been putting in some amazing performances.
“I’m very confident that the combination of my years of experience, with Tom Hall’s mentality and Alex’s sheer brilliance, will make a world class team.”