PORTLAND - The sport of archery beat men s basketball during Olympic telecasts on NBC s cable channels.

It s just one reason America s top-ranked archer Brady Ellison says the profile of the sport has never been higher.

What s happening on the big screen could be behind the surge in popularity for a sport first recognized in North America in 1828.

I get called Katniss, said archer Katie Niklas referring to the title character in Hunger Games. I wanted a hobby after graduating from college and a friend inspired me to try this.

Keith McMillan loaded his bow with an arrow as he explained why he enjoys the sport he first tried more than 50 years ago after watching Errol Flynn in the movie Robin Hood.

It s the satisfaction of taking a tool and using it to hit the target.

Keith and Katie are regulars at Portland s Washington Park where there are four targets for public use. Two movie releases this year have fueled the passion for the sport.

For the title role in Hunger Games actress Jennifer Lawrence trained for 15 days with a US Olympic archer. Then came the movie Brave showcasing a princess who changes her fate with a bow and arrow.

A Tigard business is benefitting from the big screen and the Olympics.

At Archers Afield there s a two week wait for a 30 minute archery lesson

A lot of people think it s just loading a bow and flinging errors but there s more of a thought process involved, explained instructor Chelsea Lapoint. She went on to say it takes patience and consistency, having your feet, bow and arm in the same place each time will make you a better shooter.

Keith McMillan agrees.

It s just like all these Olympians, learning how to do something and doing it right each time.

You can spend as little as $100 on a bow and arrow or as much as $1,000.

Almost anyone can do it, concluded instructor Chelsea Lapoint, It s a sport for all ages.

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