Archery got a serious boost to its cool factor before the 2000 Olympics when Academy Award winner Geena Davis advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. team trials.
Now another dose of Hollywood is helping archery reach new levels of popularity, and it only figures to increase with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire set to premiere Friday.
USA Archery says its membership has increased from 4,185 in November 2011 to 8,589 in November 2013 -- a 105 percent jump. The first The Hunger Games movie opened in the spring of 2012. The movie's star, Jennifer Lawrence, was coached for archery scenes by five-time Olympian Khatuna Lorig.
"We definitely attribute much of this growth to The Hunger Games films, along with movies like Brave and The Avengers," said USA Archery CEO Denise Parker said in a statement. "Given that archery was also the most-watched sport during NBC's first week of Olympic Games coverage, we're hopeful that people who see and try the sport will find out what archery fans already know: it's an awesome sport, fun and challenging, and one that you can enjoy year-round and for the rest of your life."
Parker was a three-time Olympian and won a bronze medal.
USA Archery also cited growth in its competitions. Its national indoor and Junior Olympic Archery Development championships had an increase of 31 percent from 2012 to 2013.
As a practical example of this newfound interest in archery, consider that Girl Scouts in North Carolina are planning a function on Saturday to practice archery on the site where the first Hunger Games film was shot on location.
Owners of an indoor archery facility in Reno that opened in November 2012 told KRNV-TV that The Hunger Games is among the reasons for people's interest in their range.