Surge in Archery Popularity Is All Thanks to 'Hunger Games' Series

Gabe Zaldivar@gabezalPop Culture Lead WriterNovember 22, 2013

Aug 2, 2012; London, United Kingdom; Khatuna Lorig (USA) competes in the women's individual archery during the London 2012 Olympic Games at Lord's Cricket Ground. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Millions will eventually make their way to the theater to watch the latest in the Hunger Games saga, and some will wait to watch it in the comfort of their own home. What is becoming increasingly clear is that a sizable chunk of fans will take their affection a step further by taking up a bow and arrow and embracing the world of archery. 

Aug 2, 2012; London, United Kingdom; Khatuna Lorig (USA) competes in the women's individual archery bronze medal match during the London 2012 Olympic Games at Lord's Cricket Ground. Lorig lose to Mariana Avitia (MEX). Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TOD
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

From Yahoo! Sports' World of Sports section, Eurosport spoke with various archers about the recent influx of interest for the sport that seems to be working in tandem with the popularity of all things Katniss Everdeen—the beloved bow and arrow-wielding character played by Jennifer Lawrence. 

Joe Dotterer, who belongs to the Chino (Calif.) Oranco Bowmen archery range, explains the impact felt since the moment the first movie, 2012's The Hunger Games, opened: 

It has been unbelievable. The ranges are packed. [The sport] has just ballooned in interest ever since the first movie. Archery stores are swamped and started running out of equipment. Now with the second movie we are expecting even more, more kids, especially more young girls and families. It has been huge for the sport.

Denise Parker, USA Archery CEO as well as three-time Olympian, explained how things have fared at the upper echelons of the archery world:

It has changed our sport [...] But what is so amazing with "Hunger Games" is that you have this character, Katniss, who is confident and beautiful, and the way she uses the bow is an extension of that. That is what really resonates and makes people want to try this.

It is inevitable that the wider the pyramid of people the greater chance you will have champions come through the ranks. It raises the whole level overall. In a few years we will hopefully have Olympic champions who fell in love with the sport through these movies. It is very exciting.

The anecdotes are consistent with the numbers, because the Eurosport report states, "USA Archery's membership has more than doubled in the past two years."

I wonder how the "make yourself to look like the environment" business is doing. What, no Peeta Mellark fans?

You only need to take a quick glimpse at part of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire's trailer to see how cool the sport can seem in a big-screen presentation. 

Fans of the Harry Potter universe know all too well the power pop culture has on the sports world. The books written by J.K. Rowling went on to make upward of $7 billion at the box office (worldwide), showing off wizards casting spells and, at times, playing Quidditch. 

It's that last part that continues to resonate with a large sum of faithful followers. Taking a fictional sport and making it their own, the International Quidditch Association has become a real league, boasting athletes across the world. 

So if a movie can turn the surreal into an actual sport, there is a hope that the recent boon to archery can continue well past the third and final iteration of the Hunger Games series. 

The popularity of the books really just needed the perfect protagonist to play Katniss Everdeen. Lawrence, a celebrity who resonates extremely well with fans for her honesty and humor, is the perfect actress to spark this kind of rampant interest. 

Now, athletes who need a much-needed uptick to their sport's numbers have a blueprint for success: Just create a film series that garners millions of dollars and you should be just fine. 

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