Biathlon is a winter sport uniting cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. In this sport, athletes race on cross-country skis and pause to shoot at targets with rifles in standing as well as prone positions. The athlete who misses the targets is awarded penalties which are added in the form of extra distance or time in his/her total distance or time. The athlete with the shortest overall time is declared the winner.
The first World Championships (BWCH) of the sport took place in 1958 with individual and team competitions for men only. Since 1984, women had their own championships, but since 1989, joint BWCHs are taking place in which both genders participate. Biathlon was first included at the Winter Olympics in 1960 with men’s individual event of 20 km only. The no. of events was increased significantly over the years. Since 1992, women’s event also started taking place at the Olympics.
The main objective is to cover the overall distance and hit the shooting targets (without missing) in the fastest time possible.
Biathlon has its roots belonged to the skiing tradition of Scandinavia. Later on, the activity was included by the military training in Norway. In the 18th century, Norwegian skiing regiments conducted military skiing competitions which were a great success.
In Norwegian, the biathlon is termed "Skiskyting" that literally means "Ski Shooting". Although biathlon events were held in the Winter Olympics of 1924, 1928, 1936 and 1948 termed as "Military Patrol" yet, it didn't get Olympic recognition because of some of the competing countries denied accepting the sport.
The first Biathlon World Championship was conducted in 1958 and post two years, it gained the Olympic recognition. Female participants were allowed to participate in 1992.
Sprint (10 km)
Pursuit (12.5 km)
Mass start (15 km)
Individual (20 km)
Relay (4 x 7.5 km)
Sprint (7.5 km)
Pursuit (10 km)
Mass start (12.5 km)
Individual (15 km)
Relay (4 x 6 km)
Relay (2 x 6 km + 2 x 7.5 km)
Male and female athletes participate as individuals or in teams (in relay events) in different biathlon events.
Biathlon takes place in a cross-country racing course which is clearly marked with flags and in which the shooting range is positioned near the start/finish line.
A typical range consists of up to 30 lanes, numbered from right to left. There may be two distinct areas- left for standing shooting and right for prone shooting.
The shooting targets are usually 11.5 cm wide for standing position and 4.5 cm wide for prone shooting.
Biathlon event consists of a cross-country race whose total distance is divided into two or four shooting rounds in which half takes place in prone position and half standing. In each shooting round, athletes must hit five targets.
Responsible for making the course ready for the competition.
Responsible for managing all operations related to the shooting phase.
Responsible for the smooth operation of the beginning of the event and determines the late or false start of the skiers. He/she must remain at the start until the end of the event.
Responsible for controlling the finish-line operations and checks whether a skier has finished the race or not.
Responsible for coordinating with the start and finish officials about timing and calculations regarding the competitions.
Responsible for seeing that all competitions rules are followed.