Sport in the Spotlight: Biathlon

Sport in the Spotlight: Biathlon

29 January 2018 / 18:34

Born out of the ancient hunting practices of northern Europeans, biathlon combines cross-country skiing with target shooting.

It made its Olympic debut at the Squaw Valley 1960 Games after military patrol featured at the first Olympic Winter Games at Chamonix 1924.

The number of events has grown from one, the men’s individual, in 1960, to 11 with women competing for the first time at Albertville 1992. Sochi 2014 marked the first time that a mixed relay event was contested at the Olympics.

Ole Einar Bjørndalen is the most successful Winter Olympian in the sport with 13 medals – eight gold, four silver and one bronze.

The Schedule

February 10

Women’s 7.5km sprint – 20:15-21:45 (11:15-12:45 UK Time)

February 11

Men’s 10km sprint – 20:15-21:55 (11:15-12:55 UK Time)

February 12

Women’s 10km pursuit – 19:10-20:00 (10:10-11:00 UK Time)

Men’s 12.5km pursuit – 21:00-21:55 (12:00-12:55 UK Time)

February 14

Women’s 15km individual – 20:05-22:00 (11:05-13:00 UK Time)

February 15

Men’s 20km individual – 22:00-22:00 (11:00-13:00 UK Time)

February 17

Women’s 12.5km mass start – 20:15-21:10 (11:15-12:10 UK Time)

February 18

Men’s 15km mass start – 20:15-21:15 (11:15-12:15 UK Time)

February 20

2x6km women’s + 2x7.5km men’s mixed relay – 20:15-21:45 (11:15-12:45 UK Time)

February 22

Women’s 4x6km relay – 20:15-21:45 (11:15-12:45 UK Time)

February 23

Men’s 4x7.5km relay – 20:15-21:45 (11:15-12:45 UK Time)

How Team GB has fared in the past

Biathlon may not be a traditional winter sport for British athletes but Mike Dixon is Team GB’s most experienced Winter Olympian having competed at six Games.

Having launched his Olympic career with cross-country skiing at Sarajevo 1984, Dixon converted to biathlon for the next five – from 1988 all the way up to Salt Lake City 2002.


Amanda Lightfoot

The 30-year-old started skiing through the military in 2006 and began competing internationally in 2008.

She underwent a knee operation in April 2013 before making her Olympic Winter Games debut at Sochi 2014.

Finishing 75th and 71st in the 7.5km sprint and 15km individual, Lightfoot has seen improvements since that display, with her personal best coming at the 2017 World Championships in Hochfilzen, finishing 31st in the 15km individual event.

Lightfoot is the second British female biathlete to compete at Olympic level following Emma Fowler at Turin 2006.

Who is the competition?

Martin Fourcade

With Ole Einar Bjørndalen not having qualified for the Norwegian team, France’s Martin Fourcade is the man to fill his shoes.

The 29-year-old won double gold at Sochi 2014, as well as picking up silvers in 2010 and 2014, and has 11 World Championship titles to his name – as well as six overall World Cup titles.

Johannes Thingnes Bø

Aged just 24, Bø is the young pretender and is pushing Fourcade all the way in this season’s World Cup standings.

The Norwegian has three senior world titles to his name, as well as five junior, and bagged eight World Cup race wins this season – two ahead of rival Fourcade.

Laura Dahlmeier

The reigning World Cup champion, Germany’s Dahlmeier has seven World Championship gold medals in her trophy cabinet – five of which were won in 2017.

With 17 individual World Cup race victories to her name and Olympic experience garnered from Sochi 2014, she will be one of the favourites heading into every race in PyeongChang.

Kaisa Makarainen

The 35-year-old Finn is having a season to remember this campaign as she goes to South Korea top of the overall World Cup standings.

Winner of the World Cup twice before, Makarainen has just one race victory this season but has shown the sort of consistency that will make her one to watch at the Games.

Sportsbeat 2018

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