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Sports

Biathlon

Johannes Thingnes Boe crouches down while holding his ski pole and with his rifle strapped to his back.
Norway's Johannes Thingnes Boe competes in the men's 20km individual event during PyeongChang 2018. (Javier Soriano/Getty Images)

What's it all about?

Playing two sports at once can be fun, right? How about toboggan bowling? Or maybe ski archery? Wait, that's actually a real thing. If you think this sounds like fun, then you might find biathlon pretty cool too.

How it's played

Things to watch for

The biathletes aim their rifles during the warm-up for the women's 7.5km sprint at PyeongChang 2018. (Dimitar Dilkoff/Getty Images)
The biathletes aim their rifles during the warm-up for the women's 7.5km sprint at PyeongChang 2018. (Dimitar Dilkoff/Getty Images)

You missed

  • In the sprint event, there are two shooting sessions of five shots each — one lying down and one standing up.
  • For every missed shot, the biathlete has to complete a penalty lap of 150 metres.
  • That means they would have to ski really fast to make up for the lost time!
Laura Dahlmeier of Germany starts first in the women's biathlon 10km pursuit at PyeongChang 2018. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/Getty Images)
Laura Dahlmeier of Germany starts first in the women's biathlon 10km pursuit at PyeongChang 2018. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/Getty Images)

Pursuit catch-up

  • A continuation of the sprint event and held the next day.
  • Biathletes start at timed intervals starting with the winner of the sprint.
  • Because there are still penalty laps, athletes who did poorly the first day can catch up during the pursuit and even win.
Tarjei Boe of Norway takes aim in the men's 20km individual biathlon at PyeongChang 2018. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Tarjei Boe of Norway takes aim in the men's 20km individual biathlon at PyeongChang 2018. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Steady wins the race

  • The individual is the longest and most challenging of the races at 15-20 kilometres and four shooting sessions.
  • Athletes don't have to be the fastest to win.
  • They can be slow but be more accurate in their shooting to make up the points.
Action packed facts.
  • Biathlon started in the snow-covered forests of Scandinavia, where people would hunt on skis.

  • The targets are 50 metres away from the athletes, whether they are shooting from a standing or lying down position.

  • Biathletes can't leave the mat with a loaded rifle or they are disqualified.

  • If a biathlete shoots at the target of another biathlete (it happens!), the shot is counted as a miss.

  • Biathletes have to shoot in the right order depending on the event — lying down or standing first. If they do it in the wrong order, all shots are misses.

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