DALLAS -- Archery has never been exactly what you would call a big spectator sport in America, but it might get a little more attention at the Olympics thanks to two recent Hollywood blockbusters. First, there was "The Hunger Games," in which young heroine Katniss Everdeen relies on her skills with the bow and arrow. Then, there was "The Avengers," with the archer Hawkeye on the team of superheroes.
"It's been huge for archery," Olympic gold-medal hopeful Brady Ellison said. "I know archery shops across the U.S. are sold out in everything. A lot of my friends who run archery shops say they have to turn people away. It has been huge for us in just the exposure of people wanting to try it. I just hope and pray those people won't just try it and leave. Hopefully we'll get a little percentage of those people shooting competitions with us."
"It's having a dramatic effect on our sport," U.S. archer Jennifer Nichols said. "We've had such an increase in interest as well as spectator base. We're really excited going into the Olympic Games having such an explosion not only in focus on our sport but in effect."
Ellison said he hasn't seen either movie but has viewed clips and Internet postings. "I really want to see 'The Avengers,'" he said. "There's been this post on my Facebook and on different websites comparing my form to Hawkeye's form and the differences. And one of the quotes is, 'Does Hawkeye have the worst archery form in history?'
"Any movie that portrays archery is a good thing, and your average person who doesn't watch archery won't notice the difference, but to every archer who shoots? Movies drive us nuts. 'Robin Hood' with Russell Crowe, he shoots OK. 'The Hunger Games' girl, she looks like a target archer, so that's good. Hawkeye? He's portraying archery, and that's good, but as far as you want to go technically and critique his form? Maybe not the best."
There is a reason Jennifer Lawrence shows good form as Everdeen in "The Hunger Games." She was trained by Olympic medalist Khatuna Lorig. "The form is incredibly similar to the way I shoot," Nichols said.
So could Nichols shoot an apple out of the mouth of a roasted pig amid a crowded dining room? "It would depend on the distance, but I think I could handle that," she said. -- Jim Caple
For all that Steven Lopez has accomplished in taekwondo, winning two Olympic gold medals and five world championships, his younger sister Diana describes his approach to women with one word: "shy." So perhaps that's why it was such a surprise he agreed to participate in the upcoming Fox reality dating show, "The Choice."
The show, which will air this summer, features Lopez, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, Rob Kardashian and actor/comedian Finesse Mitchell listening to a group of women who hope to persuade the bachelors to choose them for a date.
"They tell you what you want to hear, and if you like what you hear, you turn the chair around and pick the girl," said Lopez, whom People Magazine dubbed one of America's 50 hottest bachelors in 2004.
Lopez said he was pleased with his choice when he turned around and went on a date with the woman, but nothing materialized. "She lives in New York," the Houston resident said.
All in all, Lopez said it was an entertaining experience that again reminded him how unusual it is to be recognized for his looks as much as his talent.
"It's strange," he said. "I've put my blood, sweat and tears and sacrificed so much to get on top the podium and it's like, 'You're on People's 50 most beautiful bachelors, how does that feel?'"
Added Diana: "He gets mothers who come up to him and they're like, 'Oh, you'd be perfect for my daughter. Can you sign this for me?' It's hilarious." -- Wayne Drehs