Le Grand-Bornand
21 April 2024, 9 h 54 min

Apparent: -2°C
Vent: 1.71 m/s NW
UV-Index: 1.77
Courte description: 0mm /0%

What is biathlon?

The biathlon is combining two disciplines: cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. Biathletes alternate ski and shot (lying and standing) on 5 targets at a distance of 50 m, with a diameter of 4.5 cm for the lying shooting and 11.5 cm for standing shooting. Each shooting error is punished either by a time penalty (+ 1 min for the individual event) or a penalty loop of 150 m for other events.

Biathlon, a popular sport!

Biathlon has become one of the most popular winter sports. Facts & figures:

  • 29 million French viewers (cumulative audience) followed the Biathlon World Championships in Ruhpolding (GER) 2012.
    Source : Eurosport
  • 470,000 fans gathered in front of Eurosport to watch Martin Fourcade win the pursuit event of these same World Championships.
    Source : Eurosport
  • 972 hours retransmission of biathlon competitions around the world in one year. In 1999, transmission time failed to exceed 260 hours!
    Source : INFRONT
  • 560 000 spectators assisted at events on the world circuit (World Cup and World Championship events 2011/2012).
    Source : INFRONT

The biathlon in France : key dates

Biathlon really took off in 1960 when it became an Olympic sport at the Winter Olympic Games in Squaw Valley.
At the time, heavy military weapons were used, limiting wider participation. In France, the sport was slow to develop, despite the efforts of the customs services and the army.

The main competitions

Each year the World Cup takes place from November to March, spread over 9 stages and 27 races where the men’s and women’s circuits are mixed.

After the Christmas break, the athletes have appointments with the traditional events in Oberhod and Ruhpolding (Germany) and in Anterselva (Italy).

The end of the season very often takes place in Scandinavia or Russia, even if the world circuit sometimes makes a foray into Asia or the United States.

Unlike the ski events managed by the International Ski Federation, which organizes a world championship every two years, there is a World Biathlon Championships every year except in Olympic years: events that are not on the Olympic program are entitled to a title.

The first European championship in history was held in 1995 in Le Grand Bornand.

Biathlon has been Olympic since 1960 and in 2014 in Sochi, six races will take place (individual, sprint, pursuit, mass-start, relay and mixed relay, new Olympic event).

In 1984, women’s biathlon officially appeared with a world premiere held in Chamonix. Women’s biathlon made its debut at the Games in 1992.

In France, the national circuit includes French championships and Nordic Challenge events.

In the summer, ski-wheel events are organised.

In France, biathlon depends on the French Ski Federation, while at the global level, the International Biathlon Union manages the discipline.

Do you want to know the feelings of champions like Martin Fourcade?

Discover biathlon, target shooting at 10 or 50 metres with a compressed air rifle, a fun activity to practice with the whole family to also improve concentration and stress management.

And for the younger ones, the initiation is done during laser sessions.