| Share
 

biathlon

biathlon (bĪăthˈlŏn) [key], sport in which cross-country skiers race across hilly terrain, occasionally stopping to shoot with rifles at sets of fixed targets. The biathlon features the 10-km (6.2-mi) sprint, in which contestants shoot at two sets of targets; the 12.5-km (7.8-mi) pursuit, in which contestants shoot four times and start at intervals determined by their finish in the sprint; the 20-km (12.5-mi) race with four shooting stops; and a relay race with four 7.5-km (4.7-mi) legs and two shooting stops per leg. The women's individual races are shorter: a 7.5-km (4.7-mi) sprint, a 10-km (6.2-mi) pursuit, and a 15-km (9.3-mi) race. Competitors are penalized for each missed target by having a standard length added to the course distance that they must complete, or by having a minute added to their time. The control of fine motor skills and breathing required to shoot after the skiing segment makes this a demanding sport. Biathlon competition developed from the military training of ski troops. The sport first became an official part of the Winter Olympics in 1960. Biathlon has also recently acquired meaning as applied to a combined two-sport competition, such as running and swimming.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on biathlon from Infoplease:

  • Biathlon - 2006 Biathlon Men Women Cross country (any style) and rifle shooting (.22 caliber, small-bore, ...
  • Winter Olympics: Biathlon - Preview of the Olympic event biathlon
  • Winter Olympics: Biathlon - Preview of the Olympic event biathlon
  • Biathlon - Biathlon Men's Olympic Biathlon Women's Olympic Biathlon Information Please® Database, ...
  • Biathlon - Biathlon Event MT Adj.Time 20 km Klas Lestander, SWE 0 1:33:21.6 Information Please® Database, ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Sports

24 X 7

Private Tutor

Click Here for Details
24 x 7 Tutor Availability
Unlimited Online Tutoring
1-on-1 Tutoring