Competed against the clock, it is the traditional discipline of biathlon, that of the first competitions. Twenty kilometres of running for the men, which gives a running time of about 55 minutes, interspersed with four sets of five shots (standing, lying, standing, lying, lying down). Each missed shot costs one minute of penalty, which makes the address very important. For women, the distance is 15 km.
Ten kilometers for men, 7.5 for women with two shots, one lying, one standing. For each missed target, the competitor must complete an additional 150 metres on a penalty ring located near the firing point. On average, the handicap is about 30 seconds. Ski speed is very important.
A recent discipline that appeared at the world championships in 1997, the pursuit, 12.5 km for men and 10 km for women, is very spectacular and telegenic. The gaps from the previous day’s race (most often a sprint) are used to define the start gaps for the pursuit. Four series of shots (two lying and two standing) spice up the race and each failure is punished by a penalty round. The first to cross the line is declared the winner. The number of participants is limited to sixty.
Also known as an online race, mass-start is also a recent discipline, which has been on the world championships program since 1999. This was Raphaël Poirée’s favourite discipline, seven times on the podium, including four times on the highest step, in eight editions. The thirty selected competitors start at the same time for 15 km for men and 12.5 km for women and four rounds of shooting (two lying down and two standing). Shooting errors are sanctioned by a 150m penalty round.
The other original discipline of biathlon. Four participants per team for courses of 7.5 km for men and 6 km for women with two shooting rounds, one standing and one lying. The teams all start at the same time. At the end of each series of five shots, if not all targets have been hit, the biathletes have three additional balls, called “pickaxes”, which give them three additional chances. If at the end of these three shots, which each time require reloading, the targets are not all down, the competitor must carry out a 150m penalty round.
The mixed relay
A mixed relay team is composed of 2 women and 2 men. The female team members complete a 6 km ski course, and their male partners a 7.5 km course with 2 shooting points at 2 and 4 km respectively. The mixed relay competition starts with the first member of each team. The next member takes over in the transition zone when the first member touches his successor. The starting order of the mixed relay is: woman, woman, man, man, man.