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Will London be 'Hunger' Games for NBC?

Men try to pull arrows from a target

Men try to pull arrows from a target during the 128th U.S. National Target Championships archery competition in Hamilton, Ohio. (June 27, 2012) Credit: AP

When someone asked Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group, to name a breakout sport during the London Olympics he initially was stumped, leaning on the network’s long-time staples.

Lazarus referenced swimming (“great natural rivalries’’), gymnastics (“obviously always big’’) and diving (“always strong’’), veering from the norm only by adding there would be “a little bit more’’ women’s soccer than usual.

Then this: “I think you’re going to get some interest out of things like archery, which have started to become a little bit more mainstream,’’ he said.

How so? “I think some of the younger fans who have an affinity toward things like the ‘Hunger Games.’ There are a couple of young, interesting stars that have great personalities. I think that’s one that I would keep an eye on. It won’t necessarily receive a ton of coverage, but I think it will be one that people have an interest in.’’

There are no American women among the favorites. No, Katniss Everdeen is not on the roster. Fictional characters are ineligible for the Olympics.

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