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03 Feb 2006
IOC News

TORINO 2006: Speed And Precision

Biathlon is a sport which combines the speed and athleticism of cross-country skiing with the precision of target shooting. Governed by the International Biathlon Union (IBU) since 1993 (previously, the sport was integrated into the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne et Biathlon (UIPMB)), Torino 2006 will see men and women compete in five events each. 

Five Events For Men And Women
At the XX Olympic Winter Games – Torino 2006, there will be five events for men: 20km individual, 10km sprint, 12.5km pursuit, 4x7.5km relay and 15km mass start; and five for women: 15km individual, 7.5km sprint, 10km pursuit, 4x6km relay and 12.5km mass start. For the individual and sprint competitions, an electronic or manual draw into four groups is made. Only one competitor per NOC can be assigned to each group and the best 15 ranked competitors using the current World Cup scores can choose any of the four groups. The starting order in the pursuit is decided upon according to results from the sprint competition for the top 60 competitors only. Start numbers for the relay are assigned based on the current standings in the World Cup relay scores. Start numbers for the mass start are assigned according to results from previous competitions at the current Olympic Games and results from the World Cup to a total of 30 competitors only.

Skiing And Shooting
Biathletes ski using a free technique and then shoot a .22 calibre (5.6mm) small-bore rifle, alternating between the prone (lying down) and standing positions, with the target size varying depending on the shooting position. During the individual races, the competitors shoot four times, in prone, standing, prone, standing order. In the pursuit and mass starts, the athletes shoot twice in a row from a prone position and then twice from a standing position. In the sprints and relays, the competitors shoot twice, first prone and then standing. For individual and sprint competitions, 30 second start intervals are used, while time remaining from the sprint will be used for the pursuit. All qualified teams or competitors will start simultaneously for the relay and mass start events.

Mass Start
Since the XIX Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City in 2002, mass start competitions have been added to the Olympic programme and the women’s relay competition has been shortened from 4x7.5km to 4x6km.

Biathlon At The Olympic Winter Games
The discipline of the military ski patrol race was included as a demonstration sport at the Olympic Winter Games of 1924, 1928, 1936 and 1948. It was only at the IOC Session in Rome in 1954, however, that it was decided that biathlon should be on the Olympic programme. Biathlon debuted in 1960 at Squaw Valley with eight nations and 30 competitors in only one discipline. Today there are currently 57 national federations from four continents affiliated to the IBU. Women first competed in biathlon at the Olympic Winter Games in Albertville in 1992.

The Olympic Winter Games will run from 10 to 26 February 2006 in Turin. The Winter Games comprise seven different sports and 15 different disciplines, which will be played out in eight different competition sites. Around 2,500 athletes, 650 judges and umpires and one million spectators are expected to participate in this 20th edition of the Winter Games.


Learn more on Turin 2006

Official website of Turin 2006

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