Combining cross-country skiing and rifle shooting, biathlon is one of the most physically challenging sports on the Winter Olympic Programme.
The sport features several distinct events: the Sprint (10km), Pursuit (12.5km), Individual (20km) Mass start (15km) and the team Relay (4x7.5km). On each visit to the shooting range mid-race, competitors have to hit five targets in the Prone and Standing position, with penalties incurred for misses.
Biathlon first appeared in the Olympic Programme at Squaw Valley 1960 with the men’s 20km individual event. Women’s biathlon was added in 1992 and last year, at Sochi 2014, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen became the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time when he won his 13th medal after double gold success in Russia.
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