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Winter Olympics: everything you need to know about biathlon at the 2022 Games

Biathlon has been a prominent part of the Winter Olympics since its introduction in 1960 and will once again be in the spotlight in Beijing 2022.

Derived from the Greek for “two tests,” the biathlon sees athletes combine extraordinary levels of both endurance and precision as they compete against each other in a cross-country race, which is broken up by regular shooting rounds.

There will be a total of 11 events, including five men’s, five women’s and a mixed team event, with 33 medals available.

Sportsmail takes you through everything you need to know for the competition.

The highly skilled biathlon event will once again take center stage at the Beijing Winter Olympics

The highly skilled biathlon event will once again take center stage at the Beijing Winter Olympics

Biathlon venue for Beijing 2022

All 11 biathlon events will take place in the newly built National Biathlon Center in Zhangjiakou competition zone.

The center has a capacity of 6,000 spectators and will continue to be used for national training and as a tourist resort after the Games.

It has a 8.7km course – divided into competition, Paralympic sitting and training sections – built into the natural terrain of the mountain.

The National Biathlon Center was built specifically for the 2022 Winter Olympics

The National Biathlon Center was built specifically for the 2022 Winter Olympics

The National Biathlon Center was built specifically for the 2022 Winter Olympics

With the first locally broadcast Omicron case confirmed in Beijing in recent days, Beijing 2022 organizers have pulled the plug on plans to sell tickets widely while spectators based abroad have already been banned.

Instead, there will be an ‘adapted program’ that invites groups of spectators.

How does biathlon work?

Athletes are ranked according to their time to the finish, although they will incur additional time or distance penalties if they miss the target – which is 50 yards away on each firing range.

Skiers need to make sure they go fast enough to be competitive, but slow enough that they can control their breathing to get an accurate shot on target.

During the event, they will perform lying and standing shots, which will take place two or four times depending on the race distance. When lying down, their guns can’t hit the ground. The skiers can use any skating style during the race.

Biathlon athletes must take breaks during the race to shoot targets

Biathlon athletes must take breaks during the race to shoot targets

Biathlon athletes must take breaks during the race to shoot targets

A total of 11 biathlon medal events will take place between February 5 and 15

A total of 11 biathlon medal events will take place between February 5 and 15

A total of 11 biathlon medal events will take place between February 5 and 15

Biathlon disciplines for the 2022 Winter Olympics

individual

Athletes start the race in 30 seconds – one minute intervals.

In this case, the biathlon athlete has to stop four times to shoot at five targets each time. Each time a shot is missed, the athlete incurs a penalty of one minute for his ski time.

Course Distance:

Sprint

Like the individual, athletes start the race staggered at 30 seconds – one minute.

The skiers stop twice and shoot at five targets each time. If they miss a shot, they have to ski through a 150-meter penalty loop before they can continue down the course.

Course Distance:

Pursue

The winners of the sprint and individual races get a head start and take the track first. The other skiers then start based on their finish times in relation to the sprint winner. The course has four shooting stages, which can be bundled significantly with skiers. In this case, the athlete who reaches the target section first goes next.

Again, any missed target results in a trip through the 150m penalty loop before the skier can continue down the track.

Course Distance:

Mass start

The biathlon mass start event was first introduced during the 2006 Winter Olympics.

As the name implies, all athletes take off at the same time and stop to shoot four times. Each time the target is missed, they have to make a trip of about 150 meters.

Course Distance:

Relay

Four biathlon athletes follow a course and each perform two shooting rounds.

During each shooting round, the competitor has five targets. If they miss one, they have to manually load a bullet into the gun and try again. They can do this up to three times, if necessary. If they still miss goals after all their attempts, they have to run the 150m penalty run for each.

As with the mass start, competitors will initially start at the same time, with one member from each team. Competitors must complete the track to tag the next person in the handover zone.

Course Distance:

  • Men: 4 x 7.5km (Shooting at 2.5km and 5km)
  • Women: 4 x 6km (Shooting at 2km and 4km)

Mixed Relay

Mixed relay follows the same rules as relay.

The only difference from the relay above is that the team consists of two women and two men, each shooting only one lap at the end of their race.

Course Distance:

SKATING SCHEDULE

Saturday 5 February

Mixed Relay 4x6km (W+M) (9h)

Monday, February 7

15km Individual Women (9h)

tuesday 8 february

Men’s 20km Individual (8.30am)

Friday 11 February

7.5 km sprint ladies (9h)

Saturday 12 February

Men’s 10 km sprint (9am)

Sunday 13 February:

10 km pursuit ladies (9h)

Men’s 12.5 km pursuit (10:45 a.m.)

tuesday 15 february

4×7.5km relay men (9h)

Wednesday 16 February

Relay 4x6km Women (7:45 am)

Friday February 18

Men’s 15 km mass start (9am)

Saturday, February 19

12.5 km mass start ladies (9 am)

*All times UK

Who are the athletes to watch in Beijing?

Unfortunately for British Biathlon fans, there will be no Team GB athletes competing in the Beijing Games.

However, there will be a number of star names on display, most notably Tiril Eckhoff from Norway, who has five medals to her name, including one gold.

Winning four events and finishing with six medals at the 2021 World Championships, Eckhoff will be a firm favorite to add more silverware to her already impressive collection. Other names to look out for among the ladies are Hanna Oberg and Marte Olsbu Roiseland.

There will be some relief for both the male and female athletes as reigning champions Martin Foucade of France and Laura Dahlmeier of Germany are retiring since the last Games.

Johannes Thingnes Bo, again from Norway, will try to defend his title, while Sturla Holm Laegreid is another to keep an eye on.

Biathlon: 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics Gold Medalists

Men’s Biathlon

Individual:

  • 2018 – Johannes Thingnes Bo (Norway)
  • 2014 – Martin Fourcade (France)
  • 2010 – Emil Hegle Svendsen (Norway)
  • 2006 – Michael Greis (Germany)

Sprint:

  • 2018 – Arnd Peiffer (Germany)
  • 2014 – Ole Einar Bjorndalen (Norway)
  • 2010 – Vincent Jay (France)
  • 2006 – Sven Fischer (Germany)

Pursue:

  • 2018 – Martin Fourcade (France)
  • 2014 – Martin Fourcade (France)
  • 2010 – Bjorn Ferry (Sweden)
  • 2006 – Vincent Defrasne (France)

Mass start:

  • 2018 – Martin Fourcade (France)
  • 2014 – Emil Hegle Svendsen (Norway)
  • 2010 – Evgeny Ustyugov (Russia)
  • 2006 – Michael Gries (Germany)

Relay:

  • 2018 – Sweden
  • 2014 – Russia
  • 2010 – Norway
  • 2006 – Germany

Women’s Biathlon

Individual:

  • 2018 – Hanna Oberg (Sweden)
  • 2014 – Darya Domracheva (Belarus)
  • 2010 – Anastasiya Kuzmina (Slovakia)
  • 2006 – Svetlana Ishmouratova (Russia)

Sprint:

  • 2018 – Laura Dahlmeier (Germany)
  • 2014 – Anastasiya Kuzmina (Slovakia)
  • 2010 – Anastasiya Kuzmina (Slovakia)
  • 2006 – Florence Baverel-Robert (France)

Pursue:

  • 2018 – Laura Dahlmeier (Germany)
  • 2014 – Darya Domracheva (Belarus)
  • 2010 – Magdalena Neuner (Germany)
  • 2006 – Kati Wilhelm (Germany)

Mass start:

  • 2018 – Anastasiya Kuzmina (Slovakia)
  • 2014 – Darya Domracheva (Belarus)
  • 2010 – Magdalena Neuner (Germany)
  • 2006 – Anna Carin Olofsson (Sweden)

Relay:

  • 2018 – Belarus
  • 2014 – Ukraine
  • 2010 – Russia
  • 2006 – Russia

Mixed Event Biathlon

Relay:

  • 2018 – France
  • 2014 – Norway

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