Winter Olympic Games: What is a Biathlon?

Biathlon is a winter sport that includes cross-country skiing and shooting. The participants, known as biathletes, travel long distances with occasional stops to shoot a target using their rifle. In case a biathlete jumps on the target, he skis around a 150-meter penalty circuit. Biathletes can compete individually or as a relay. The biathlon relay team consists of four athletes, each running 7.5 km for the men’s category and 6 km for the women’s category. All the biathletes usually start running simultaneously from the starting lane, with the winner being the first to cross the finish line.

History and origin of Biathlon

Biathlon originates from Norway. The Norwegians practiced the sport previously as part of military training. The biathlon competitions in Norwegian military training were classified into four; aiming and shooting at a target as you skied at high speed, running down a hill covered with large trees, running on level ground while carrying a rifle and other military equipment, and running down a steep, rock-covered hill. Trysil Rifle and Ski Club have been set up to improve internal security.

The biathletes participated for the first time at the 1924 Winter Olympics. Other biathlon demonstrations continued in the years of 1928, 1936 and 1948. At this time it was not recognized as a winter Olympic game because some of the participating countries did not agree with some of the rules established to govern sport. In 1958, the first international Biathlon championship took place in Austria. In 1960, biathlon was finally recognized as an Olympic winter sport. Women could not participate in the game until 1992.

Biathlon events

Only those who succeed in the sprint event can participate in the tracking event. The first 60 people in the sprint event automatically qualify for the chase. The event is divided into 5 rounds, with four shooting levels. A 150m penalty is awarded if the target is missed. A relay consists of four biathlons. Each male team member skis for 7.5 km with two shooting opportunities while women’s skiing for 6 km with two shooting opportunities each and passes the baton to the next pilot. To participate in a mass competition, a biathlete must be finished in the top thirty positions of the other four events. In a mass competition, men ski for 15km while women ski for 12.6km, in laps 5 and have four shooting periods.


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