• Nordic Focus Photo Agency

    Sprint

    The Sprint (10 km for men; 7.5 km for women) became a part of the Olympic Winter Games program at Lake Placid in 1980. Just as it says, this is an all-out effort from start to finish, emphasising fast skiing and equally fast shooting.


    Athletes start at 30-second intervals and ski three loops (3 x 3.3 km for men; 3 x 2.5 km for women) with two shooting stages, prone and standing. The athlete skis a 150-meter penalty loop for each missed target before starting on the next loop. The fastest total time determines the winner.

    Learn More, opens in a new tab
  • Nordic Focus Photo Agency

    Pursuit

    The Pursuit (12.5 km for men; 10 km for women) first appeared in the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. The top 60 competitors from the previous competition qualify for the pursuit, going out in the seconds-back order based on their sprint finish, i.e. sprint winner starts at 0:00, second place in sprint starts at for example five seconds back and so on until all sixty have started.


    Usually, all sixty start within just over two minutes. Competitors ski five loops (5 x 2.5 km for men; 5 x 2 km for women) with four shooting stages, prone, prone, standing and standing in that order. Athletes ski a 150-meter penalty loop for each missed target before starting on the next loop. This competition is always full of big moves and sudden drama, especially in the last standing stage, when many times victory is on the line. The first to cross the finish line is the winner.

    Learn More, opens in a new tab
  • Nordic Focus Photo Agency

    Individual

    The original, classic and longest biathlon competition. The Individual (20 km for men; 15 km for women), more than any other discipline, rewards precision: as each missed target adds one minute to the athlete’s final time. Careful, accurate shooting is crucial for success. Athletes start at 30-second intervals and ski five loops (5 x 4 km for Men; 5 x 3 km for women), with four shooting stages alternating prone and standing (prone, standing, prone, standing). The final time including penalty minutes determines the winner.

    Learn More, opens in a new tab
  • Nordic Focus Photo Agency

    Mass Start

    The Mass Start (15 km Men, 12.5 km Women) was added to the Olympic program in Torino 2006. The top 30 biathletes in the world all start at the same time.

    At the Olympic Winter Games, these 30 athletes are:

    • the top 15 from the current World Cup Total Score plus any medal winners that are not among the top 15 in the World Cup Total Score.
    • the remaining competitors in rank order from the points they have earned in the Individual, Sprint and Pursuit competitions at the OWG. The points are distributed using the same system as for the World Cup. Single Best Result, Total Score Ranking and Qualifying Points are tie-breakers, if necessary.

    Competitors ski five loops (5 x 3 km for men: 5 x 2.5 km for women) with shooting stages in the same order as the pursuit: prone, prone, standing, standing. Athletes ski a 150-meter penalty loop for each missed target before starting on the next loop. Tactics abound with quick, accurate shooting being essential. The first across the finish is the winner.

    Learn More, opens in a new tab
  • Margie Freed and Amanda Kautzer ski at the 2023 Open European Championships in Lenzerheide, Switzerland
    US Biathlon

    Mass Start 60

    In the Mass Start 60 athletes start simultaneously, covering the distance of 15 km for men and 12 km for women. After the first loop, 30 first athletes (bibs 1-30) proceed to the range for their first shooting, while bibs 31-60 continue for a second loop without shooting. After the second loop, the second 30 athletes (bibs 31-60) proceed to the first shooting bout, while bibs 1-30 continue skiing without shooting. After two groups conducted their first prone shooting, the competition is organised as in a pursuit. The order of athletes (with bibs 1-30) ski up to the range first and bibs 31-60 continue skiing after the first loop) can be alternated.

    Learn More, opens in a new tab
  • Relay

    The Relay (4 x 7.5 km for men; 4 x 6 km for women) is the second-oldest biathlon competition, introduced at the 1968 Grenoble Olympic Winter Games. Each relay team runs four legs with the distance based on gender (each men’s leg is 3 X 2.5 km with prone and standing shooting stages; Each women’s leg is 3 X 2 km with prone and standing stages). In each shooting stage, the competitor is allowed to use three spare rounds if needed to close their five targets. A 150-meter penalty loop is run for any unclosed targets after the eighth shot is fired. Exchanges between each leg are a tap of the shoulder from the incoming athlete to the outgoing athlete. The first team across the finish line is the winner.

    Learn More, opens in a new tab
  • Nordic Focus Photo Agency

    Mixed Relay

    The mixed relay made its debut at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games. Two men and two women compete on each mixed relay team, which is simply four sprint-style legs. The same genders start consecutively; if the women lead off the distance is four 6 km legs (3 x 2 km with prone and standing shooting stages), if the men lead off, then it is four 7.5 km legs (3 x 2.5 km with prone and standing shooting stages). In each shooting stage, the competitor is allowed to use three spare rounds if needed to close their five targets. A 150-meter penalty loop is run for any unclosed targets after the eighth shot is fired. Exchanges between each leg are a tap of the shoulder from the incoming athlete to the outgoing athlete. The first team to cross the finish line is the winner.

    Learn More, opens in a new tab
  • Nordic Focus Photo Agency

    Single Mixed Relay

    In the Single Mixed Relay, teams have one woman and one man per country competing over a total distance of 6 km for the first starter and 7.5 km for the second with four shooting stages each. The lap is 1.5 km for both women and men, while the penalty loop is 75 m long. Just as in the regular relays, athletes have three spares to load manually in case of missed shots. The first athlete starts the competition and tags the other athlete after the first two shooting stages (prone and standing). The handover is done directly after the range/ penalty loop exit. The IBU Technical Committee decides whether the men or the women begin the competition.

    Learn More, opens in a new tab
  • Nordic Focus Photo Agency

    Super Sprint

    The Super Sprint is halved in two brackets, the qualification and the final. The course length is 1.5 km. The qualification is run off as a time trial with single starts. The total qualification competition length is 4.5 km (three times 1.5 km, with two shooting stages, prone and standing). The best 30 athletes from the qualification then start simultaneously in the final and compete over 7.5 km (5 loops of 1.5 km and 4 shooting stages - prone-prone-standing-standing). In both the qualification and the final, no spared can be used and the penalty loop is shortened to 75 m.

    Learn More, opens in a new tab
  • Short Individual

    The Short Individual differs only by length and penalty time: in the men’s competition the distance is shortened to 15 km and in the women’s to 12.5 km. Penalty time is reduced to 45 seconds for both men and women.

    Learn More, opens in a new tab

About Us

  • About U.S. Biathlon
  • History of U.S. Biathlon
  • Hall of Fame
  • U.S. Biathlon Foundation
  • Membership
  • Our Partners
USA Biathlon and US Olympic & Paralympic Committee Logo
  • Accessibility
  • Site Map
  • Contact Us
  • Careers
  • Financials
  • Terms of Use , opens in a new tab
  • Privacy Policy

© 2024 United States Biathlon Association - All Rights Reserved.