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Fourth-Place Medal

From ‘Hunger Games’ to London Games: Khatuna Lorig just misses bronze in archery

Fourth-Place Medal

Getty/polentical.com

LONDON — In "The Hunger Games," Katniss Everdeen battles through intense competition and unpredictable conditions in a fight for her survival.

While the stakes were slightly lower for U.S. archer Khatuna Lorig, who trained actress Jennifer Lawrence for her role as Katniss in the blockbuster film adaptation, the journey had its similarities: She battled the best in the world in an eliminate-or-be-eliminated environment, whose whipping winds and unusual layout made for an unprecedented challenge.

[Photos: Olympic archers]

In the end, Lorig finished fourth in the London Games' women's individual archery tournament at Lord's, losing the bronze to Mariana Avitia of Mexico, 6-2 (104-98).

"It was close. The gold medal was very close," said, Lorig, who lost in the semifinals to eventual gold medalist Ki Bo Bae of Korea (6-2; 107-105).

"What are you going to do?"

The 38-year-old California resident was competing in her fifth Summer Olympics. A former athlete for the Republic of Georgia, she won a bronze medal in team archery with the Unified team in 1992. Lorig became a U.S. citizen in time for the Beijing Games of 2008, placing fifth in individual, her best finish until taking fourth on Thursday in London.

[Related: World's best archer eliminated]

Her battle for the bronze saw Avitia get out to a significant early lead, 4-0 in set points, as Lorig struggled with consistency. She hit a few sixes along the way, thanks in part to the way the Lord's Cricket Grounds venue was structured — temporary stands flanking the archery range, creating unpredictable wind conditions.

"I had to fight the wind over there. Unfortunately it didn't go as I expected. I was surprised with both times I shot six," she said.

"You don't get to see where the wind's blowing, the way the building's set up."

She rallied from the early deficit, at one point bull's-eyeing with an arrow that broke the camera mounted on the target.

"That was my first [broken camera]," she said. "I feel sorry for them."

She doesn't have to pay for it, does she?

"I hope not."

[Related: South Korea's Im Dong-hyun breaks world record in archery]

Lorig gained fame before the Summer Games for her work behind the camera as a technical adviser on "The Hunger Games." She said working with Lawrence a month before filming for 15 lessons. She said the tutorial was easy due to the actress' athleticism, natural body for archery and determination to excel in the role.

Would she work on another film; say, a "Hunger Games" sequel?

"I'm looking forward to getting another chance to coach Jennifer. It's good for archery," she said.

For now, she has another goal: Qualifying for the Rio Games of 2016, and potentially marching in the Opening Ceremony with her son Levan Onashvili.

"It's his goal. My goal is to make it there," she said.

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