Archery popularity surging thanks to Hunger Games, other pop culture
Archery has long been all the rage in Panem and Westeros, and it's now gaining traction in the United States as well, as AskMen.com explains above.
With the popularity of the Hunger Games movies, as well as television shows like Game of Thrones and films like Brave and The Avengers, participation in the Olympic sport has increased in the U.S in recent years. Katniss Everdeen, the Hunger Games protagonist portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence, has made a particular difference, according to a 2012 New York Times article.
“Katniss has helped give archery a hip factor it’s just never had before,” said Teresa Iaconi, the spokeswoman for USA Archery, which fields the Olympic team. “No disrespect to Kevin Costner” — the star of 1991’s “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” she added, “but he was an old guy in tights.”
Since December 2011, individual membership in USA Archery has jumped 25 percent, while the number of clubs has nearly doubled, to 540 from 279. The organization is struggling to keep pace with the demand for instructors; it recently moved part of its certification course online to speed the process, Ms. Iaconi said.
In November 2013, NPR suggested that much of the Katniss-inspired uptick has come from young girls.
The popularity of The Hunger Games series is fueling an interest in the sport of archery, particularly among girls. Some sporting equipment outfitters say they've seen a big boost in bow and arrow sales since the film series began in 2012.
Across the country, those involved in archery have witnessed the Hunger Games effect. From a 2013 Yahoo Sports report:
"It has been unbelievable," said Joe Dotterer of the Oranco Bowmen archery range in Chino, Calif. "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."
Modern archery has been contested at the Olympics since 1972. In that time, the United States has been second only to South Korea in gold and overall medals won.
- Alex Putterman