Skip to main content
  1. Sports
  2. Recreation
  3. Hunting & Fishing

Biathlon at the 2014 Winter Olympics

See also

Biathlon is a winter sport that incorporates cross country skiing and precision rifle marksmanship. It first appeared as a single event in the 1960 Winter Games in Squaw Valley. The sport has proved popular and now has 11 events, including one new event, the mixed relay, which will be seen for the first time at the 2014 Winter Games. The first event, the Men's 10 km Sprint will take place on Feb 8.

According to the Olympic Committee: “Biathlon-type events in Scandinavia are known to have been held as early as the 18th century. The first modern biathlon probably occurred in 1912 when the Norwegian military organised [sic] the Forvarsrennet in Oslo. An annual event, it consisted initially of a 17km cross-country ski race with two-minute penalties incurred by misses in the shooting part of the competition.”

It appeared as a demonstration sport in the 1948 St Moritz Winter Olympics in a much more involved form modeled on the modern pentathlon. The current form, which uses .22 caliber rifles, debuted in 1978 and was included in the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid. Biathlon rules are governed by the International Biathlon Union.

Biathletes ski around a course, then stop and shoot at a mechanical reactive target with the rifle they carry while skiing. Penalties, either time or extra skiing laps, are added for any missed targets. The targets are 50 meters from the shooter and are 1.8 inches in diameter during prone stages and 4.5 inches in diameter for standing stages. The target will drop down when hit, visually indicating to the shooter and the audience that a hit has been made.

The U.S. biathlon team has never won a medal in the Winter Olympics. However, the team had a record breaking season in 2012 on the world cup circuit. This means that U.S. Olympians could reach the podium in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Connect with Claude Werner on Facebook. You can also follow Claude on Twitter.

Don’t miss any of Claude's Firearms Examiner articles; Subscribe Here to Get Instant Updates.

E-mail alerts are free, private and secure.



  • Stephen A. Smith apologizes
    Stephen A. Smith: Ray Rice rant was 'most egregious error of my career'
    Domestic Violence
  • Maria Kirilenko slideshow
    Feast your eyes on the former fiance of Alex Ovechkin: The newly-single Maria Kirilenko
    20 Photos
  • New York Yankees fan returns lost Red Sox World Series ring to owner
    MLB News
  • Peyton Manning dancing
    Peyton Manning shows off his formidable dancing skills at training camp
    NFL News
  • Bagwell becoming porn star
    Buff Bagwell has the stuff, but his Vivid dreams have not come true just yet
    Fight Sports
  • Grave defiler identified
    Die-hard Browns fan identified in Art Modell’s grave defiling video
    Crimes & Court

Related Videos:

  • Kendall Jones: Cheerleader's big game photo of killed exotic animals causes ire
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • Turtleman is coming to the Smokies
    <div class="video-info" data-id="517966862" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>
  • Spring gobbler - youth hunt
    <div class="video-info" data-id="517410706" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>