An Overview of Biathlon
Biathlon is the sport that combines cross country skiing and rifle shooting. The literally means two sports, from the Greek words bi that is used to show a double presence and athlos that means sport. The word athlete comes from there as well. So the term can be used for any two sports that are played together but it is now used to describe this famous winter sport.
If you find the sport interesting and you want to watch it or take part in it, you should know the basic rules upon which it is based so that you don’t get lost in the numerous terms athletes use. The fact that the game is made up by two sports, makes it very interesting and you can expect to see athletes that are physically strong and have skills and talents in shooting targets. This means that they are the most complete athletes in terms of both strength and accuracy. The athlete must hit five targets for each round. If the athlete misses a target, he has three options. He can ski 150 meters, one minute time might be added to his total time, he can use an extra shoot to hit the target. The options depend on the rules of the game, but all three can be found. The target is usually 50 meters further from the point the athletes shoot. As for the skiing part you should know that all techniques are allowed and the athlete can ski in any form he prefers. Most athletes use the free technique to ski as it is usually the fastest one.
The competition part of the sport includes several different parts which make it very interesting. An individual race of twenty km or 12 miles is normally skied over five laps. The athlete shoots four times during this part at two fixed positions that follow each other. If he misses a shoot, a penalty of one minute is added to his total time. Then there is a ten km sprint that is skied over three laps. The athlete shoots twice during this part and if he misses a shoot, there is a penalty for another 150 meters to ski. The pursuit race is about 12 km and it is the part of the game where the crowd can understand which athlete comes first as they start the race according to their previous results.
The mass start is a distance of fifteen kilometers that are skied over five laps. The athlete also has shoots here with a penalty of 150 meters for every shoot he misses. There are also relays that consist of four athletes with a distance to ski and two shoots and there is also the mixed relay that has two men and two women athletes in the team. The sport is very popular in Germany, Austria, Norway, Sweden and Finland and most athletes that have won World Championships and Olympic medals come from these countries as well.