This sport originates in a workout for Norwegian persons, as an alternate military training. Skiing squadrons from Norway prepared contests for military skiing in the 18th century, separated in four categories: downhill race among trees, downhill race on big hills without falling, shooting at mark while skiing at top speed, and a long race on flat ground while carrying military and rifle pack. In recent term these military competitions encompassed downhill, slalom, cross-country skiing and biathlon. One of the earth’s initial known ski clubs, the Trysil Rifle and Ski Club, was created in Norway in 1861 to upgrade national security at the grassroot level. 20th century alternates encompass Norwegian: Forsvarsrennet (the military competition) - a 17 km cross-country race including shooting, and the military cross-country race at 30 km with marksmanship. Recent biathlon is a noncombatant alternate of the early military collective exercise. In Norway, until 1984 biathlon was a branch of Norwegian: Det frivillige Skyttervesen, an organization established by the government to advance marksman skills of the members for the advantage of national security. In Norwegian biathlon is referred to as Norwegian: skiskyting (factually ski shooting). In Norway there are still separate competions in Norwegian: skifeltskyting, a cross-country race at 12 km with large-caliber rifle shooting at numerous targets with unknown range.
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Known as military patrol, the merging of skiing and shooting was challenged at the Winter Olympic Games in 1924, and then demonstrated in 1928, 1936, and 1948, but did not re-claim Olympic credit then, as the lesser number of contesting countries differed on the regulations. During the mid-1950s, however, biathlon was initiated into the Swedish and Soviet winter sport itineraries and was broadly enjoyed by the populace. This new found fame helped the effort of having biathlon acquire entry into the Winter Olympics.
The earliest World Championship in biathlon was hosted in 1958 in Austria, and in 1960 the sport was eventually incorporated in the Olympic Games. At Albertville in 1992, women were initially permitted in Olympic biathlon.
The contests from 1958 to 1965 used high-power center fire cartridges, like the .30-06 Springfield and the 7.62x51mm NATO, previous to the standardization of .22 Long Rifle rimfire cartridge in 1978. The ammo was carried in a belt worn around the contestant's waist. The single occurrence was the men's 20 kilometres (12 mi) individual, including four distinct ranges and firing spaces of 100 metres (330 ft), 150 metres (490 ft), 200 metres (660 ft), and 250 metres (820 ft). The intention distance was shortened to 150 metres (490 ft) with the adding of the relay in 1966. The shooting range was in addition condensed to 50 metres (160 ft) in 1978 with the mechanical targets making their first appearance at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.
In 1948, the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne et Biathlon (UIPMB) was formed, to standardise the regulations for biathlon and present pentathlon. In 1993, the biathlon division of the UIPMB formed the International Biathlon Union (IBU), which formally separated from the UIPMB in 1998.
Presidents of the UIPMB/IBU:
- 1947–1949: Tom Wiborn (Sweden)
- 1949–1960: Gustaf Dyrssen (Sweden)
- 1960–1988: Sven Thofelt, (Sweden)
- 1988–1992: Igor Novikov (USSR/Russia)
- Since 1992: Anders Besseberg (Norway)
A biathlon competition comprises of a race in which competitors ski around a cross-country trail system, and where the whole distance is broken up by either two or four shooting rounds, one half in prone position, and the other half standing. Dependent on the shooting presentation, additional distance or time is added to the competitor's entire running distance. As in most races, the competitor with the shortest whole time wins.
For each shooting time, the biathlete must hit five focuses; the skier gets a penalty for every missed target, which differs according to the competition rules.
In order to record the competitors' development and relative standing all through a race, intermediate times are taken at numerous points along the skiing track and upon end of each shooting round. The large show screens popularly established at biathlon stadiums, as well as the message graphics shown as part of the TV picture, will usually list the split time of the quickest competitor at every intermediate position and times and time variations to the closest runners-up.
The 20 kilometres (12 mi) personal race (15 kilometres (9.3 mi) for women) is the earliest biathlon event; the length is skied over five laps. The biathlete shoots four times at any shooting lane, in the order of prone, standing, prone, standing, making to 20 targets. For every missed target a fixed penalty time, normally one minute, is added to the skiing time of the biathlete. Contestants' begins are staggered, typically by 30 seconds.
The sprint is 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) for men and 7.5 kilometres (4.7 mi) for women; the distance is skied over three laps. The biathlete shoots twofold at any shooting lane, once prone and once standing, for overall 10 shots. For every miss, a penalty loop of 150 metres (490 ft) must be skied before the race can be resumed. As in the personal competition, the biathletes begin in intervals.