Biathlon is a term used to describe any sporting event made up of two disciplines. However, biathlon usually refers specifically to the winter sport
Winter sport
A winter sport is a sport which is played on snow or ice. Most such sports are variations of skiing, ice skating and sledding. Traditionally such sports were only played in cold areas during winter, but artificial snow and ice allow more flexibility...

 that combines cross-country skiing
Cross-country skiing
Cross-country skiing is a winter sport in which participants propel themselves across snow-covered terrain using skis and poles...

 and rifle shooting
A rifle is a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves cut into the barrel walls. The raised areas of the rifling are called "lands," which make contact with the projectile , imparting spin around an axis corresponding to the...

. Other popular variants include summer biathlon, which combines cross-country running with riflery, modern biathlon and biathle
Biathle or Modern biathlon is a sub-sport of modern pentathlon invented to create opportunities for training the run and swim parts of pentathlon in real race conditions. It can also be seen as a sport in its own right. It bears close resemblance to aquathlon which also contains swimming and...

, which combine running with swimming.

Concise history

The sport has its origins in an exercise for Norwegian
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

A soldier is a member of the land component of national armed forces; whereas a soldier hired for service in a foreign army would be termed a mercenary...

s, as an alternative training for the military
An army An army An army (from Latin arma "arms, weapons" via Old French armée, "armed" (feminine), in the broadest sense, is the land-based military of a nation or state. It may also include other branches of the military such as the air force via means of aviation corps...

The world's first known ski club, the Trysil Rifle and Ski Club, was formed in Norway in 1861 to promote national defense at the local level.

Called military patrol
Military patrol
Military patrol is a team winter sport in which athletes compete in both cross-country skiing respectively ski mountaineering, and rifle shooting. It is usually contested between countries or military units. Biathlon was developed from military patrol....

, the combination of skiing and shooting was contested at the Olympic Winter Games
Winter Olympic Games
The Winter Olympic Games is a sporting event, which occurs every four years. The first celebration of the Winter Olympics was held in Chamonix, France, in 1924. The original sports were alpine and cross-country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping and speed skating...

 in 1924
Military patrol at the 1924 Winter Olympics
At the 1924 Winter Olympics, in Chamonix, France, in 1924, a military patrol competition was held. The Olympic lists the official medal winners for the event, yet several sources have counted this competition as a demonstration event only. The event was also demonstrated in 1928, 1936, and 1948,...

, and then demonstrated
Demonstration sport
A demonstration sport is a sport which is played to promote itself, most commonly during the Olympic Games, but also at other sporting events.Demonstration sports were officially introduced in 1912 Summer Olympics, when Sweden decided to include glima, traditional Icelandic wrestling, in the...

 in 1928
Military patrol at the 1928 Winter Olympics
At the 1928 Winter Olympics, in St. Moritz, Switzerland, in 1928, a military patrol competition was held. Because of a snowstorm the night before the competition, the start of the event was delayed 45 minutes to the cleaning up of the track. The competition was contested over a 30 km distance...

, 1936
Military patrol at the 1936 Winter Olympics
At the 1936 Winter Olympics, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, in 1936, a military patrol competition was held. The International Olympic Committee refused admission of this sport into the Olympic Program, but the expressed desires of Adolf Hitler forced the IOC to make this program a...

, and 1948
Military patrol at the 1948 Winter Olympics
At the 1948 Winter Olympics, in St. Moritz, Switzerland, in 1948, the last military patrol competition was held as a demonstration sport. This was in part to the aftermath of World War II, which decimated Europe. This sport would be superseded by the biathlon competition which debuted at the 1960...

, but did not regain Olympic recognition then, as the small number of competing countries disagreed on the rules (see also Governing body, below). During the mid-1950s, however, biathlon was introduced into the Soviet and Swedish winter sport circuits and was widely enjoyed by the public. This newfound popularity aided the effort of having biathlon gain entry into the Winter Olympics.

The first World Championship
Biathlon World Championships
The first Biathlon World Championships was held in 1958, with individual and team contests for men. The number of events has grown significantly over the years. Beginning in 1984, women biathletes had their own World Championships, and finally, from 1989, both genders have been participating in...

 in biathlon was held in 1958 in Austria, and in 1960 the sport was finally included in the Olympic Games
1960 Winter Olympics
The 1960 Winter Olympics, officially known as the VIII Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event held between February 18 and 28, 1960 in Squaw Valley, California, United States. In 1955 at the 50th IOC meeting, the organizing committee made the surprise choice to award Squaw Valley as...

. At Albertville
1992 Winter Olympics
The 1992 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XVI Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event celebrated from 8 to 23 February 1992 in Albertville, France. They were the last Winter Olympics to be held the same year as the Summer Olympics, and the first where the Winter Paralympics...

 in 1992, women were first allowed in Olympic biathlon.

The competitions from 1958 to 1965 used high-power centerfire such as .30-06 Springfield
.30-06 Springfield
The .30-06 Springfield cartridge or 7.62×63mm in metric notation, was introduced to the United States Army in 1906 and standardized, and was in use until the 1960s and early 1970s. It replaced the .30-03, 6 mm Lee Navy, and .30 US Army...

 and 7.62x51mm NATO, and so on, before the .22 Long Rifle
.22 Long Rifle
The .22 Long Rifle rimfire cartridge is a long established variety of ammunition, and in terms of units sold is still by far the most common in the world today. The cartridge is often referred to simply as .22 LR and various rifles, pistols, revolvers, and even some smoothbore shotguns have...

 rimfire cartridge was standardized in 1978. The ammunition was carried in a belt worn around the competitor's waist. The sole event was the men's 20 km individual, encompassing four separate ranges and firing distances of 100 m, 150 m, 200 m, and 250 m. The target distance was reduced to 150 m with the addition of the relay in 1966. The shooting range was further reduced to 50 m in 1978 with the mechanical targets making their debut at the 1980 Winter Olympics
1980 Winter Olympics
The 1980 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XIII Olympic Winter Games, was a multi-sport event which was celebrated from 13 February through 24 February 1980 in Lake Placid, New York, United States of America. This was the second time the Upstate New York village hosted the Games, after 1932...

 in Lake Placid
Lake Placid, New York
Lake Placid is a village in the Adirondack Mountains in Essex County, New York, United States. As of the 2000 census, the village had a population of 2,638....


Governing body

In 1948, the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne et Biathlon (UIPMB) was founded, to standardise the rules for biathlon and modern pentathlon
Modern pentathlon
The modern pentathlon is a sports contest that includes five events: pistol shooting, épée fencing, 200 m freestyle swimming, show jumping, and a 3 km cross-country run...

. In 1993, the biathlon branch of the UIPMB created the International Biathlon Union
International Biathlon Union
The International Biathlon Union, IBU, is the international governing body of biathlon. Its headquarters are in Salzburg, Austria.- History :The International Biathlon Union was founded on 2 July 1993...

 (IBU), which officially separated from the UIPMB in 1998.

Presidents of the UIPMB/IBU:
  • 1947–1949: Tom Wiborn (Sweden)
  • 1949–1960: Gustaf Dyrssen
    Gustaf Dyrssen
    Gustaf Dyrssen was a Swedish army officer, modern pentathlete and Olympic champion. He competed at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp where he received a gold medal in modern pentathlon...

  • 1960–1988: Sven Thofelt
    Sven Thofelt
    Sven Alfred Thofelt was a Swedish modern pentathlete and Olympic champion. He competed at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam where he received a gold medal in modern pentathlon....

    , (Sweden)
  • 1988–1992: Igor Novikov (USSR
    Soviet Union
    The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

  • Since 1992: Anders Besseberg (Norway)


The following articles list major international biathlon events and medalists. Contrary to the Olympics and World Championships (BWCH), the World Cup (BWC) is an entire winter season of (mostly) weekly races, where the medalists are those with the highest sums of World Cup points at the end of the season.
  • Biathlon at the Olympic Games
    Biathlon at the Winter Olympics
    Biathlon debuted at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley with the men's 20 km individual event. At the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, the men's 4×7.5 km relay debuted, followed by the 10 km sprint event at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York...

  • Biathlon World Championships
    Biathlon World Championships
    The first Biathlon World Championships was held in 1958, with individual and team contests for men. The number of events has grown significantly over the years. Beginning in 1984, women biathletes had their own World Championships, and finally, from 1989, both genders have been participating in...

  • Biathlon World Cup
    Biathlon World Cup
    The Biathlon World Cup has been held since the winter seasons of 1977/78 and 1982/83, for men and women, respectively ....

  • Biathlon Junior World Championships

Rules and equipment

The complete rules of biathlon are given in the official IBU rule book (see External links, below).

Basic concepts

A biathlon competition consists of a race in which contestants ski around a cross-country track, and where the total distance is broken up by either two or four shooting rounds, half in prone position, the other half standing. Depending on the shooting performance, extra distance or time is added to the contestant's total running distance/time. As in most races, the contestant with the shortest total time wins.

For each shooting round, the biathlete must hit five targets; each missed target must be "atoned for" in one of three ways, depending on the competition format:
  • by skiing around a 150 metres (492.1 ft) penalty loop, typically taking 20–30 seconds for top-level biathletes to complete (running time depending on weather/snow conditions),
  • by having one minute added to a skier's total time, or
  • by having to use an "extra cartridge" (placed at the shooting range) to finish off the target; only three such "extras" are available for each round, and a penalty loop must be made for each of the targets left standing.

In order to keep track of the contestants' progress and relative standing throughout a race, split times (intermediate times) are taken at several points along the skiing track and upon finishing each shooting round. The large display screens commonly set up at biathlon arenas, as well as the information graphics shown as part of the TV picture, will typically list the split time of the fastest contestant at each intermediate point and the times and time differences to the closest runners-up.

Skiing details

All cross-country skiing techniques are permitted in biathlon, which means that the free technique is usually the preferred one, being the fastest. No equipment other than skis and ski poles may be used to move along the track. Minimum ski length is 4 centimetres (1.6 in) less than the height of the skier. The rifle has to be carried by the skier during the race at all times.

Shooting details

The biathlete carries the small bore rifle, which weighs at least 3.5 kilograms (7.7 lb), including ammunition in magazines on his/her back during the race. The rifles use .22 LR
.22 Long Rifle
The .22 Long Rifle rimfire cartridge is a long established variety of ammunition, and in terms of units sold is still by far the most common in the world today. The cartridge is often referred to simply as .22 LR and various rifles, pistols, revolvers, and even some smoothbore shotguns have...

 ammunition and are bolt action or Fortner (straight-pull bolt) action.

The target range shooting distance is 50 metres (164 ft). There are five circular targets to be hit in each shooting round. When shooting in the prone position
Prone position
The term means to lie on bed or ground in a position with chest downwards and back upwards.-Etymology :The word "prone," meaning "naturally inclined to something, apt, liable," has been recorded in English since 1382; the meaning "lying face-down" was first recorded in 1578, but is also referred to...

 the target diameter is 45 millimetres (1.8 in), when shooting in the standing position the target diameter is 115 millimetres (4.5 in). On all modern biathlon ranges, the targets are self-indicating, in that they flip from black to white when hit, giving the biathlete as well as the spectators instant visual feedback for each shot fired.


The 20 kilometres (12.4 mi) individual race (15 km for women) is the oldest biathlon event; the distance is skied over five laps. The biathlete shoots four times at any shooting lane, in the order of prone, standing, prone, standing, totaling 20 targets. For each missed target a fixed penalty time, usually one minute, is added to the skiing time of the biathlete. Competitors' starts are staggered, normally by 30 seconds.


The sprint is 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) for men and 7.5 kilometres (4.7 mi) for women; the distance is skied over three laps. The biathlete shoots twice at any shooting lane, once prone and once standing, for a total of 10 shots. For each miss, a penalty loop of 150 metres must be skied before the race can be continued. As in the individual competition, the biathletes start in intervals.


In a pursuit, biathletes' starts are separated by their time differences from a previous race, most commonly a sprint. The contestant crossing the finish line first is the winner. The distance is 12.5 kilometres (7.8 mi) for men and 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) for women, skied over five laps; there are four shooting bouts (two prone, two standing, in that order), and each miss means a penalty loop of 150 m. To prevent awkward and/or dangerous crowding of the skiing loops, and overcapacity at the shooting range, World Cup Pursuits are held with only the 60 top ranking biathletes after the preceding race. The biathletes shoot on a first-come, first-served basis at the lane corresponding to the position they arrived for all shooting bouts.

Mass start

In the mass start, all biathletes start at the same time and the first across the finish line wins. In this 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) or 12.5 kilometres (7.8 mi) for women competition, the distance is skied over five laps; there are four bouts of shooting (two prone, two standing, in that order) with the first shooting bout being at the lane corresponding to your bib (Bib #10 shoots at lane #10 regardless of position in race.) with rest of the shooting bouts being at the lane in the position they arrived (Arrive at the lane in fifth place, you shoot at lane five.). As in sprint races, competitors must ski one 150 m penalty loop for each miss. Here again, to avoid unwanted congestion, World Cup Mass starts are held with only the 30 top ranking athletes on the start line (half that of the Pursuit as here all contestants start simultaneously).


The relay teams consist of four biathletes, who each ski 7.5 kilometres (4.7 mi) (men) or 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) (women), each leg skied over three laps, with two shooting rounds; one prone, one standing. For every round of five targets there are eight bullets available, though the last three can only be single-loaded manually one at a time from spare round holders or bullets deposited by the competitor into trays or onto the mat at the firing line. If after eight bullets there are still misses, one 150 m penalty loop must be taken for each missed target remaining. The first-leg participants start all at the same time, and as in cross-country skiing relays, every athlete of a team must touch the team's next-leg participant to perform a valid changeover. On the first shooting stage of the first leg, the participant must shoot in the lane corresponding to their bib number (Bib #10 shoots at lane #10 regardless of position in race.), then for the remainder of the relay, the relay team shoots at the lane in the position they arrived (Arrive at the range in 5th place, you shoot at lane five.).

Mixed relay

The most recent addition to the number of biathlon competition variants, the mixed relay, is similar to the ordinary relay but for the composition of the teams, each of which consists of two women and two men. Legs 1 and 2 are done by the women, legs 3 and 4 by the men. The women's legs are 6 km and men's legs are 7.5 km as in ordinary relay competitions.

Team (obsolete)

A team consists of four biathletes, but unlike the relay competition, all team members start at the same time. Two athletes must shoot in the prone shooting round, the other two in the standing round. In case of a miss, the two non-shooting biathletes must ski a penalty loop of 150 m. The skiers must enter the shooting area together, and must also finish within 15 seconds of each other; otherwise a time penalty of one minute is added to the total time. Since 2004, this race format has been obsolete at the World Cup level.

Biathlon venues

World Cup events and World Championships in biathlon have traditionally been held at the following few locations. Due to the complicated shooting range equipment, which absolutely has to work in order to hold successful races, biathlon is a highly demanding sport for organisers.
Country Major biathlon venues
 Austria Hochfilzen
Hochfilzen is a small village in Tyrol, Austria, in the Kitzbühel district. It is located at , in the Pillersee valley 5km west of Fieberbrunn. Population was 1,109 in 2001.It is a popular winter sports resort, especially for cross country skiing...

Obertilliach is a municipality in the district of Lienz in Tyrol in Austria....

Saalfelden is a town in the Austrian state of Salzburg and is the administrative centre of the Pinzgauer Saalachtal...

 Belarus Raubitchi
 Kingdom of Bulgaria Bansko
Bansko is a town and a popular ski resort in southwestern Bulgaria, located at the foot of the Pirin Mountains at an elevation of 925 m above sea level....

Borovets , known as Chamkoria until the middle of the 20th century, is a popular Bulgarian mountain resort situated in Sofia Province, on the northern slopes of Rila, at an altitude of 1350 m...

 Canada Canmore
Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park
Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park is a provincial park in Alberta, Canada, located immediately west of Canmore, west of Calgary.The park is situated at the foot of Mount Rundle in the Canadian Rockies, along the Bow Valley and the Trans-Canada Highway, at an elevation of and has a surface of...

Whistler Olympic Park
The Whistler Olympic Park is the location of the Nordic events facilities for the 2010 Winter Olympics and is located in the Madeley Creek basin in the Callaghan Valley, west of Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. The facility hosted the biathlon, cross-country skiing, nordic combined, and ski...

 Independent State of Croatia Bjelolasica
 Czech Republic Nové Město na Moravě
Nové Mesto na Morave
Nové Město na Moravě is a town in the Vysočina Region of the Czech Republic. It has 10,464 inhabitants.-Business in town:Despite its location surrounded by great outdoors, the town has a long tradition of manufacturing...

 Finland Kontiolahti
Kontiolahti is a municipality of Finland.It is located in the province of Eastern Finland and is part of the North Karelia region. The municipality has a population of and covers an area of of which is water. The population density is ....

Kuusamo is a town and municipality in Finland. It is located in the Oulu province and is part of the Northern Ostrobothnia region. The municipality has a population of and covers an area of of which is water. The population density is ....

Lahti is a city and municipality in Finland.Lahti is the capital of the Päijänne Tavastia region. It is situated on a bay at the southern end of lake Vesijärvi about north-east of the capital Helsinki...

 Early Modern France Bessans
Bessans is a commune in the Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.-Geography:Located on the Haute-Maurienne plateau, at an altitude of 1750 meters, the area is known for its sporting activities. Bessans is located in a valley, ideal for Nordic skiing...

 Germany Altenberg
Altenberg, Germany
Altenberg is a town in the Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge district, in the Free State of Saxony, Germany. It is situated in the Ore Mountains, close to the border with the Czech Republic, 15 km northwest of Teplice, and 32 km south of Dresden....

Oberhof, Germany
Oberhof is a town in the Schmalkalden-Meiningen district of Thuringia, Germany. It is a winter sports center and health resort. It is visited by tenfold as many tourists every year...

Ruhpolding is a municipality of the Traunstein district in southeastern Bavaria, Germany. It is situated in the south of the Chiemgau region in the Alps. Ruhpolding has a population of approximately 6,400....

Veltins-Arena is a football stadium in Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It opened in 2001, as the new home ground for German Bundesliga club Schalke 04....

 Italy Antholz
Rasen-Antholz is a municipality in South Tyrol in the Italian region Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, located about 110 km northeast of the city of Trento and about 60 km northeast of the city of Bolzano, on the border with Austria.-Geography:...

Cesana-San SicarioMartell
 Norway Beitostølen
Beitostølen is a village in Øystre Slidre, Norway. As of 1 January 2009, it had 247 residents, and is located above mean sea level. It is largely a tourist area, with many cabins and hotels serving various winter sports facilities. The village has hosted FIS Cross-Country World Cup and Biathlon...

Holmenkollen National Arena
Holmenkollen National Arena is a Nordic skiing and biathlon venue located at Holmenkollen in Oslo, Norway. It consists of the large ski jumping hill Holmenkollbakken, the normal hill Midtstubakken and a stadium for cross-country skiing and a shooting range for biathlon...

 Poland Kościelisko
Kościelisko is a village in Tatra County, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, in southern Poland, close to the border with Slovakia. It is the seat of the gmina called Gmina Kościelisko...

Duszniki Zdrój
 Russia Khanty-Mansiysk
Khanty-Mansiysk experiences a subarctic climate . The climate is extreme, with temperatures as low as -49 C° and as high as 34.5 C°. On average, however, the region is very cold, with an average tempurature of -1.1 C°...

Novosibirsk is the third-largest city in Russia, after Moscow and Saint Petersburg, and the largest city of Siberia, with a population of 1,473,737 . It is the administrative center of Novosibirsk Oblast as well as of the Siberian Federal District...

-Demographics:Nationally, dominated by Russian , Bashkirs and Tatars . In addition, numerous are Ukrainians , Chuvash , Mari , Belarusians , Mordovians , Armenian , Germans , Jews , Azeris .-Government and administration:Local...

 Ukraine Tysovetc-SkoleSumy
* 1897 - 70.53% Ukrainians, 24.1% Russians, 2.6% Jewish, 2.67% others* 1926 - 80.7% Ukrainians, 11.8% Russians, 5.5% Jewish, 2% others* 1959 - 79% Ukrainians, 20% Russians, 1% others...

 Slovakia Brezno-Osrblie
 Slovenia Pokljuka
Pokljuka is a foresty plateau at the altitude of around 1300 metres, situated partly in the municipality of Bled and partly in municipality of Bohinj in northwestern Slovenia. It is part of Triglav national park...

 Sweden Östersund
Östersund is an urban area in Jämtland in the middle of Sweden. It is the seat of Östersund Municipality and the capital of Jämtland County. Östersund is located at the shores of Sweden's fifth largest lake, Storsjön, opposite the island Frösön, and is the only city in Jämtland. Östersund is the...

 United States Fort Kent
Fort Kent, Maine
Fort Kent is a town in Aroostook County, Maine, United States. The population was 4,097 in the 2010 census. Fort Kent is home to an Olympic biathlete training center, an annual CAN-AM dogsled race, and the Fort Kent Blockhouse, built in reaction to the Aroostook War and in modern times designated...

Presque Isle
Presque Isle, Maine
Presque Isle is the commercial center and largest city in the sparsely populated Aroostook County, Maine, United States. The population was 9,692 at the 2010 census...

Lake Placid
Lake Placid, New York
Lake Placid is a village in the Adirondack Mountains in Essex County, New York, United States. As of the 2000 census, the village had a population of 2,638....

Soldier Hollow
Soldier Hollow
Soldier Hollow is a cross-country ski resort located southeast of Salt Lake City in Wasatch Mountain State Park, Utah, United States. The resort was created for the 2002 Winter Olympics, and during the games it hosted the biathlon, cross-country skiing and the cross country skiing portion of the...

* Since 2002, the Veltins-Arena
Veltins-Arena is a football stadium in Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It opened in 2001, as the new home ground for German Bundesliga club Schalke 04....

 in Gelsenkirchen has hosted a special mixed team event once a year, now called the "Veltins Biathlon World Team Challenge".


Biathlon events are broadcast most regularly where the sport enjoys its greatest popularity, namely Germany (ARD
Das Erste
Erstes Deutsches Fernsehen , marketed as Das Erste , is the principal publicly owned television channel in Germany...

Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen , ZDF, is a public-service German television broadcaster based in Mainz . It is run as an independent non-profit institution, which was founded by the German federal states . The ZDF is financed by television licence fees called GEZ and advertising revenues...

), Austria (ORF
ORF (broadcaster)
Österreichischer Rundfunk, ORF, is the Austrian national public service broadcaster.Funded from a combination of a television licence fees and revenue from limited on-air advertising, ORF is the dominant player in the Austrian broadcast media...

), Norway (NRK
Norsk Rikskringkasting
The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation , which is usually known as NRK, is the Norwegian government-owned radio and television public broadcasting company, and the largest media organisation in Norway...

), Finland (YLE
The Finnish Broadcasting Company , abbreviated to YLE , is Finland's national broadcasting company, founded in 1926. YLE is a public-broadcasting organization which shares many of its characteristics with its British counterpart, the BBC, on which it was largely modelled...

), Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

 (ETV), Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

 (LTV), Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

 (HRT), Poland (TVP
Telewizja Polska
Telewizja Polska Spółka Akcyjna is Poland's public broadcasting corporation...

), Sweden (SVT
Sveriges Television
Sveriges Television AB , Sweden's Television, is a national television broadcaster based in Sweden, funded by a compulsory fee to be paid by all television owners...

), Russia (Russia 2, Channel One (Russia)
Channel One (Russia)
Channel One is the first television channel to broadcast in the Soviet Union. The channel was renamed Ostankino Channel 1 in 1991, after the Soviet Union broke up and the Russian SFSR became the Russian Federation. According to a recent government publication, the Russian government controls 51%...

), Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

 (TVR), Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

 (RTV), Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

 (BHRT), Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

Bulgarian National Television
The Bulgarian National Television or BNT is the public broadcaster of Bulgaria. The company was founded in 1959 and began broadcasting on December 26 of the same year. It began broadcasting in color in 1970...

), South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 (KBS); it is broadcast on European-wide Eurosport
Eurosport is a pan-European television sport network operated by French broadcaster TF1 Group. The network of channels are available in 59 countries, in 20 different languages providing viewers with European and international sporting events...

, which also broadcasts to the Asia-Pacific region. World Cup races are streamed (without commentary) via the IBU website and some of these events are available on the World Championship Sports Network (WCSN).

The broadcast distribution being one indicator, the constellation of a sport's main sponsors usually gives a similar, and correlated, indication of popularity: for biathlon, these are the Germany-based companies E.ON Ruhrgas
E.ON AG, marketed with an interpunct as E•ON, is the holding company of the world's largest investor-owned energy service provider based in Düsseldorf, Germany. The name comes from the Greek word aeon which means eternity....

 (energy), Krombacher
Krombacher Brauerei is one of the largest privately owned breweries in Germany and ranks number 2 among Germany's best selling breweries.- History :...

 (beer), and Viessmann
The Viessmann Group is an international heating systems manufacturer headquartered in Allendorf , Germany. The group controlls 23 production and project management divisions in 11 countries, its products are available in 74 countries, owns 32 subsidiaries and 120 sales offices around the world...

 (boilers and other heating systems).

Biathlon variants

Two common variations on traditional winter biathlon are summer biathlon, where skiing is replaced by a cross-country run, and archery
Archery is the art, practice, or skill of propelling arrows with the use of a bow, from Latin arcus. Archery has historically been used for hunting and combat; in modern times, however, its main use is that of a recreational activity...

(or ski archery), where the rifle is replaced by a recurve bow
Recurve bow
In archery, the shape of the bow is usually taken to be the view from the side. It is the product of the complex relationship of material stresses, designed by a bowyer...


There have also been summer competitions in roller-ski
Roller skiing
Roller skiing is a non-snow equivalent to cross-country skiing. Emulating skis, elongated inline skates, with wheels at the ends, are used on tarmac. The skating/skiing action is very similar to actual cross-country skiing on snow....

, mountain bike
Mountain biking
Mountain biking is a sport which consists of riding bicycles off-road, often over rough terrain, using specially adapted mountain bikes. Mountain bikes share similarities with other bikes, but incorporate features designed to enhance durability and performance in rough terrain.Mountain biking can...

and orienteering
Orienteering is a family of sports that requires navigational skills using a map and compass to navigate from point to point in diverse and usually unfamiliar terrain, and normally moving at speed. Participants are given a topographical map, usually a specially prepared orienteering map, which they...

. Primitive Biathlon uses snowshoes and muzzleloaders.

The Boy Scouts of America
Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with over 4.5 million youth members in its age-related divisions...

 offers a Bikeathlon variant at their national Scout jamboree
National Scout jamboree (Boy Scouts of America)
The national Scout jamboree is a gathering, or jamboree of thousands of members of the Boy Scouts of America, usually held every four years and organized by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Referred to as "the Jamboree", "Jambo", or NSJ, Scouts from all over the nation and world...

 that mixes BMX
Bicycle motocross or BMX refers to the sport in which the main goal is extreme racing on bicycles in motocross style on tracks with inline start and expressive obstacles, and it is also the term that refers to the bicycle itself that is designed for dirt and motocross cycling.- History :BMX started...

 biking with air rifle shooting at biathlon type targets.

Cadets Canada also offers biathlon to cadets across Canada, with three stages; zones, provincial and national. Zone competitions are occasionally, due to lack of snow in some southern areas, held as summer biathlon. A .22LR caliber rifle is used at all levels. Races are shorter than world class events. More information can be found at the National Cadet Biathlon Championship website.

The World Police and Fire Games
World Police and Fire Games
ThisWorld Police and Fire Games are a biennial athletic event open to active and retired law enforcement and fire service personnel throughout the world...

, as well as the Western States Police and Fire Games (USA), offer a summer variant which combines cross-country running with service pistol shooting.

See also

Biathlon's two sports disciplines:
  • Skiing and skiing topics
    Skiing is a recreational activity using skis as equipment for traveling over snow. Skis are used in conjunction with boots that connect to the ski with use of a binding....

  • Rifle shooting sports

Other multi-discipline sports (otherwise unrelated to biathlon):
  • Duathlon
    Duathlon is an athletic event that consists of a running leg, followed by a cycling leg and then another running leg in a format bearing some resemblance to triathlons. The International Triathlon Union governs the sport internationally....

  • Nordic Combined
    Nordic combined
    The Nordic combined is a winter sport in which athletes compete in both cross-country skiing and ski jumping.- History :While Norwegian soldiers are known to have been competing in Nordic skiing since the 19th century, the first major competition in Nordic combined was held in 1892 in Oslo at the...

  • Triathlon
    A triathlon is a multi-sport event involving the completion of three continuous and sequential endurance events. While many variations of the sport exist, triathlon, in its most popular form, involves swimming, cycling, and running in immediate succession over various distances...

  • Pentathlon
    A pentathlon is a contest featuring five different events. The name is derived from Greek: combining the words pente and -athlon . The first pentathlon was documented in Ancient Greece and was part of the Ancient Olympic Games...

  • Modern pentathlon
    Modern pentathlon
    The modern pentathlon is a sports contest that includes five events: pistol shooting, épée fencing, 200 m freestyle swimming, show jumping, and a 3 km cross-country run...

  • Heptathlon
    A heptathlon is a track and field athletics combined events contest made up of seven events. The name derives from the Greek hepta and athlon . A competitor in a heptathlon is referred to as a heptathlete.-Women's Heptathlon:...

  • Decathlon
    The decathlon is a combined event in athletics consisting of ten track and field events. The word decathlon is of Greek origin . Events are held over two consecutive days and the winners are determined by the combined performance in all. Performance is judged on a points system in each event, not...

External links

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