By Aaron Blevins, 8/23/2012
WeHo resident placed fourth in London
West Hollywood resident Khatuna Lorig placed fourth in the women’s individual archery competition at the 2012 Summer Games in London, and nearly three weeks later, she is still not satisfied with the best individual Olympic performance of her career.
For Lorig, all that glitters must be gold. It has to be. She has received a team medal — a bronze — as part of the Unified Team in 1992. It is not enough for the West Hollywood resident.
“I’m still very grumpy about that,” Lorig, 38, said of her fourth place finish, adding that she was the only American to advance to a medal round. “It’s very good, but not good enough.”
She has been perfecting her archery skills for the last 27 years, having been introduced to the sport as a child in the Republic of Georgia. In her youth, the appeal of archery was quite simple.
“It’s shooting,” Lorig said. “It’s fun. …It’s shooting things.”
However, while archery competitions can be individual and team oriented, the sport allowed her an opportunity to show her skills without relying on the complexities of having teammates.
“It was [just] me,” Lorig said. “I was in charge of my shots.”
She is a five-time Olympian, having competed in all but one competition since 1992. In Barcelona in 1992, she medaled with the women’s archery team and placed sixth in the individual competition.
Lorig then competed for the Republic of Georgia in 1996 in Atlanta, though she lost in the first round of the individual competition and did not compete in the team contest. She lost in the first round of both competitions in 2000. Lorig did not compete in 2004 due to citizenship issues.
She was granted U.S. citizenship in 2007, and competed for the U.S. in 2008 in Beijing. Lorig’s individual finish of fifth was the best of her career, and she was chosen as the U.S. flag bearer for the Closing Ceremony.
This year, she lost to Ki Bo-Bae of South Korea, the eventual gold medal winner. In the bronze match, Lorig lost to Mariana Avitia of Mexico. She had high hopes after qualifying fourth.
“I did what I could,” Lorig said. “I don’t know where [my athletic career] is going, but I’m going in the right direction.”
She is looking ahead to the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro — and the Games in 2020 and 2024.
“In archery, age doesn’t merit…Unfortunately, we have to wait another four years and see what happens in Rio,” Lorig said.
In between Olympic Games, she competes in Archery World Cup events. In 2010, she and her teammates earned a World Cup bronze, and last year, the team secured its first-ever silver medal.
Lorig also conducts archery camps and trains in Chula Vista and North Hollywood to keep her ranking high. She participates in workshops in San Francisco, Van Nuys and North Hollywood, and teaches students of all ages.
Prior to the London Games, Lorig coached actress Jennifer Lawrence on how to shoot a recurve bow for “The Hunger Games”. She said she would love to continue that work with other movies or any sequel that may follow “The Hunger Games”.
“I’m up for it,” Lorig said. “If they call me, I will go for it.”
She lives in West Hollywood with her son, Levan Onashvili, and her husband, Archil Onashvili. Her son is a 19-year-old junior archer and is striving to compete in the 2016 Games.
“Hopefully, we will be the first mother and son in the Olympics,” Lorig said, adding that she is thankful for the support she received this year.
She advised any student interested in archery to give it a shot. The website archery.org has good resources, and there are organizations that offer free classes, Lorig said.
“You’ll try it, and you’ll love it,” she added.
Though the London Olympics just ended, Lorig is looking forward to the 2016 Games, with an eye on the top of the podium.
“I’m going to keep going until I get what I want — a gold medal,” she said. “One way or another, I’m going to get it in Rio.”