Hollywood hitting the bullseye for archery
You won't find movie archers Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games, Princess Merida of Brave and Hawkeye of The Avengers at the Olympics, but they just might have an impact on future ones.
And Khatuna Lorig, a five-time archery Olympian, has already had an impact on the cinematic rise of the arrow launchers, having trained actress Jennifer Lawrence on how to fire a bow for her Hunger Games star turn.
"She was lovely," Lorig said. "We had a great time coaching and working together. I don't know how she is right now but we had a great time."
Lorig has competed for the Unified Team of Soviet talent, Georgia and three times for the United States, even serving as American flag bearer for the 2008 Beijing Olympic closing ceremony.
She took a bronze medal with the Unified Team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics in women's team archery. And before London she was in a photo shoot for Glamour magazine.
But she had never worked with Hollywood heroines before.
"It was a great experience," Lorig said. "We were working on looking good on the camera mostly, but she actually got pretty good."
Brave, an animated Disney/Pixar film, features a young Scottish girl whose bow skills are tested while The Avengers featured Jeremy Renner playing Clint Barton, the superhero sharpshooter character "Hawkeye" from Marvel Comics.
"The movies have really raised the profile of archery and the media does a great job of keeping people interested," US archer Brady Ellison said.
Archery's big close-up scene before the cameras has resulted in a boost in interest worldwide, people learning everything from how to fire a bow to the fact that arrows are kept in a quiver.
"For archery, it's huge," Lorig said. "It deserves this big break."
US Archery found last month that internet interest had doubled and Twitter followings had quadrupled with youth clubs under fire with new applicants.
"It's amazing the impact a Hollywood movie can make on a sport," US Archery chief executive Denise Parker said last month. "You can't buy that kind of promotion and exposure."
There's more to come. Next month's release of the Hunger Games DVD will feature the six US Olympic archers on the cover in special editions.
The US men's team took archery silver on Saturday with the women's team due to compete later Sunday. – Sapa-AFP.