Biathlon at the 2022 Winter Olympics

Posted at 6:54 PM, Oct 10, 2021

Biathlon at the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games will be contested Feb. 5, 7-8, 11-13, 15-16 and 18-19 with medals awarded in 11 events.

  • Mixed Relay (Feb. 5)
  • Women's 15km Individual (Feb. 7)
  • Men's 20km Individual (Feb. 8)
  • Women's 7.5km Sprint (Feb. 11)
  • Men's 10km Sprint (Feb. 12)
  • Women's 10km Pursuit (Feb. 13)
  • Men's 12.5km Pursuit (Feb. 13)
  • Men's 4x7.5km Relay (Feb. 15)
  • Women's 4x6km Relay (Feb. 16)
  • Men's 15km Mass Start (Feb. 18)
  • Women's 12.5km Mass Start (Feb.19)

Biathlon consists of a cross-country ski race coupled with target shooting with rifles. The shooting portion of a biathlon race is known as a shooting bout. Races have either two or four shooting bouts in Olympic biathlon, and are executed while the athlete is either standing (S) or in the prone (P) position. If an athlete misses a target or targets during a bout they are penalized either by adding minutes to their time automatically or by having to ski a penalty loop near the exit of the shooting range.

The aerobic demands required to ski quickly coupled with the tranquility required to shoot accurately has often been compared to trying to run up several flights of stairs then trying to thread a needle. Interestingly, biathletes try not to reduce their heart rates too much while in the shooting range because it’s harder to shoot when blood is surging through the body than it is while it is pumping quickly in smaller bursts.

Unlike cross-country athletes who compete in races which officially designate the use of either classical or freestyle techniques, biathletes use freestyle, or skating style, for nearly every kilometer raced. The only exception in biathlon is in the first 100 meters of the relays in which classical technique is required. 

Biathlon events can be broken down into six categories:

  • Individual
  • Sprint
  • Pursuit
  • Relay
  • Mixed Relay
  • Mass Start

Of the six, five include a men’s and a women’s events, while the mixed relay features teams of four athletes – two women and two men – skiing and shooting in the same race for gold, silver and bronze. Events also vary by what type of start is used to begin the race (interval or mass start) as well as how many shooting bouts are required in a race, and the amount of ammunition allotted each biathlete per bout.

SEE MORE: Biathlon 101: Rules

SEE MORE: Biathlon 101: Equipment

SEE MORE: Biathlon 101: Competition format

SEE MORE: Biathlon 101: Qualification & Team USA

SEE MORE: Biathlon 101: Venue

SEE MORE: Biathlon 101: Glossary

SEE MORE: Biathlon 101: Olympic history

SEE MORE: Biathlon 101: Since PyeongChang