Katniss Everdeen: PR Agent for Olympic Archery
August 10, 2012
I often wonder what it's like to be an Olympic athlete in one of the less telegenic sports. Some sports just don't televise well, especially the shooting sports. This is too bad, as events like 10m air pistol require incredible physical and mental discipline. However, this event can seem downright monotonous to someone not actually competing: pfft! ... 8 ring... pfft! ... 9 ring... pfft! ... outer 10 ring ...
One such sport has seen a serious upswing in viewer interest, however. NBC has reported a surge in ratings for Olympic archery in the 2012 London Olympics. So what has changed since 2008 in American culture that has caused a massive interest in archery? Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy and film, that's what. The first book in the trilogy was published in September 2008, shortly after the close of the Beijing Olympics. The film was released in March 2012, and all of a sudden, many young people suddenly developed an interest in archery.
Katniss Everdeen's skill with bow and arrow plays a large role in her story, so Jennifer Lawrence needed to be able to portray a skilled archer and bow huntress in the film adaptation. Lawrence's tutor in archery? Khatuna Lorig, US Olympic archer.
While Lorig fell just short of medaling in London, more Americans than ever before were watching Olympic archery this time around. I'm sure it's safe to say that many of those viewers were young fans of The Hunger Games. Will some of these young people be inspired to take up archery and aim for Team USA (and other national teams, for that matter) in 2016 and beyond? I hope so, and may the odds be ever in their favor.