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(bīăth`lŏn), sport in which cross-country skiers race across hilly terrain, occasionally stopping to shoot, prone or standing as required, 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; a 30 contestant, 15-km (9.3-mi) mass start 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 races are shorter: a 7.5-km (4.7-mi) sprint, a 10-km (6.2-mi) pursuit, a 15-km (9.3-mi) race, a 12.5-km (7.8-mi) mass start race, and a relay with 6-km (3.7-mi) legs. In the mixed relay, two women and then two men ski a leg of the appropriate length. 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.



a modern winter two-event competition—ski racing with riflery. While covering a distance of 20 km, the athlete makes five shots each at four firing ranges between the fifth and 18th kilometers: twice at a target 30 cm in diameter (while upright) and twice at a target 15 cm in diameter (while prostrate). The distance to the targets is 150 m. For each miss there is a penalty of two minutes, which are added to the time shown in the ski race. In 1960 the biathlon was incorporated into the program of the winter Olympic games. The winners of the Olympic games have been K. Lestander, a Swede (1960, Squaw Valley), Soviet athlete V. Melan’in (1964, Innsbruck), and M. Solberg (1968,Grenoble). At the Xth Olympics (1968, Grenoble) the 4 × 7.5-km relay was won by the team of Soviet biathlonists (A. Tikhonov, N. Puzanov, V. Mamatov, and V.Gundartsev). Among Soviet athletes, world champions in the biathlon have been V. Melan’in (1959), V. Mamatov (1967), A. Tikhonov (1969), and A. Ushakov (juniors, 1969). In the world championship (1969) the 4 × 7.5-km relay was won by Soviet athletes A. Tikhonov, V. Mamatov, V. Gundartsev, and R. Safin, and the 3 x 7.5-km relay was won by Soviet juniors V. Tolkachev, A. Tagirov, and A. Ushakov.

References in periodicals archive ?
German biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle, a two-times Olympic champion at cross country, tested positive for a banned stimulant and was sent home.
NORWEGIAN biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen became the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time after winning his 13th medal in the mixed relay in Sochi yesterday.
It's a long journey for a British biathlete because we start the sport so much later.
Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen currently stands on 11 medals and is also competing in multiple events in Sochi.
Biathlete Bjoerndalen and leading cross-country skier Bjoergen both have designs on eclipsing the all-time Winter Games medal record of 12 held by their compatriot, cross-country skiing star Bjorn Daehlie, in Sochi.
SEFTON FROM a host of likely Sefton candidates, undefeated sprint champion, biathlete and record-breaking swimmer Luke Suarez, who may boast of having won 50 gold medals, was chosen.
I think the poster sends the wrong signal," said Andrew Thomson, a Dubai-based biathlete.
De son cote, Berger est la premiere biathlete a avoir remporte six medailles lors des six courses d'un Championnat du monde avec quatre titres et deux medailles d'argent.
am's turn in the relay was over in under five minutes when he passed the flame to the next runner, biathlete Emma Fowler.
Biathlete Rene Zahkna would be responsible for both of Estonia's medals, being pipped to second spot on the podium in both the men's 7.
The Miss England finalist and professional biathlete recently won a prestigious sports award and now aims to raise funds for the Variety Club Children's Charity.
Tamas is a huge skiing fan, a passion that stems from his father, who was a top Romanian biathlete.