While the Winter Olympics start Friday 4th February in Beijing, the discipline is indeed more and more known. Still very confidential ten years ago, this sport has benefited from growing media coverage which has given it better exposure, especially on television. Despite this popularity, the practice remains more limited, with less than 6,000 licensees in France
Biathlon is one of the most challenging winter games which gives thrilling experience in chilled winter. This winter sport is a mixture of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. Biathlon is difficult to play because here the athletes participating in a cross country skiing race are distracted by frequent stops to shoot at sequence of targets. Biathlon is a combination of five events − individual, sprint, pursuit, relay, and mass start.
In this game, the athletes compete in cross country skiing and shoot series of targets from a distance. The athletes need to be fast, focussed, and have more stamina. Every time the target is missed the biathlete either gets an additional time or distance penalty. It is important that the skier is fast enough to maintain the competition but should be slow enough to maintain control. In this game the athletes carry a rifle and shoot the target from the distance of 50m.
Biathlon – How to Play?
Individual race is the oldest event of biathlon. The male biathlete runs a distance of 20km while the female runs over 15 km. In this event the skier has to shoot four targets each in five laps. The shooting positions for the target is prone, standing, prone, standing. If the target is missed then a one minute penalty is imposed.
Sprint has 10 km distance for males and 7.5km for women. Here the distance is covered three laps. The biathlete shoots once in the standing position while second time in the prone position. Every time a shot is missed a penalty loop of 150m is to be skied before the race can be continued.
Contestants for the pursuit event are chosen from the sprint event. Top 60 finishers of sprint race qualify for this event. The pursuit race is of 12.5 km for males and 10 km for females. Biathlete with the best timings in sprint event starts the race and is followed by other deserving candidates accordingly. The objective of this race is to accompany the leader and patch up ground to be the first to cross the finishing line.
The pursuit race is parted into five laps and four shooting bouts. Here the racers can team up at the target areas of the race. It’s better to shoot in the sequence of their arrival at the shooting range. Mostly this means that the racers simply stand and wait for their turns. Every time they miss a target a penalty loop of 150m is imposed before the racer can go along the course.
In this event all the biathletes start at the same time from the same source. After completing their course, the biathletes have to touch the next biathlete who will be running the next part of the race. For male biathletes relay is a 4 x 7.5 km and for female biathletes relay is a 4 x 6 km.
In short, all the four biathletes have to cover the distance in three laps and two shooting bouts. All qualified biathletes have to perform two shooting rounds. In each shooting round the biathlete faces five targets. In case if a shot is missed they are given three chances to manually load the bullet and try again. For the fourth time a penalty loop of 150m is to be covered.
Mass start is the latest event that was included in biathlon events in 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. In this event top 30 biathletes who managed to maintain the best scores in other four events start the race altogether. For male biathletes mass start is a 15km race and for female biathletes it is 12.6km. There are five laps and four shooting rounds and for each missed target a penalty loop of 150 m is to be covered.
Martin Fourcade is a biathlete from France who has won overall world cup five times and he is the only biathlete to do so. Along with this he also won Olympics two times. Martin started his career in 2002 and in 2006 he started participating at international level.
He won bronze medal in junior championship in 2007. Since 2007 he kept participating and improving his rank. After 2010 winter Olympics he took part in world cup and won a silver medal. He won 2009-2010 Pursuit world cup.
In 2011, world championship he took part in mixed relay and finished 3rd. He also won a silver medal in sprint event of biathlon. After that he took part in pursuit event and won gold. In 2012-2013 session he won silver in world championships in sprint and pursuit and a gold in individual. In 2013-2014 session he won a gold in mass start event in world championship and 2014 Olympics.