Biathlon – A fascinating combination of endurance and precision
Biathlon is a renowned sport which is not for those of a nervous disposition. Athletes compete in two disciplines: cross-country skiing demands fitness and shooting requires perfect accuracy. This Nordic sport is attracting more and more amateur athletes to the biathlon training area with its unique combination of endurance and precision which make it a gripping and fascinating spectacle.
Biathlon: a modern sport with a long history
The ancient traditions of Nordic winter sports can be traced back to the days of the Stone Age. Cave paintings discovered in Norway show that skiers were hunting game more than 5000 years ago. Later, as guns took the place of bows and arrows, biathlon developed as a military sport. These days it is a demanding performance sport with two disciplines: cross-country skiing and shooting, which produces tension as well as variety.
This is how the Nordic sport works
Biathlon equipment consists of cross-country skis and a small-calibre weapon. Shooting takes place in both lying and standing positions – anything but simple! It demands accuracy and precision when, from 50m, the target only has a diameter of 4.5cm (lying) and 11.5cm (standing). The most difficult part is arriving with a high pulse rate from the skiing and then keeping a steady hand. Easier said than done when one is out of puff!
On arrival at the biathlon area after the cross-country circuit, competitors take the gun from their back, control their breathing, aim and shoot. On target! Same again: reload, concentrate, fire. Wayward shots are more irritating – in competition these are not just counted as a miss but must be compensated for by a distance or time penalty.
Where the World Champions train!
The Olympiaregion Seefeld is known as a Mecca for Nordic sports. Experts from all over the world can be found on the cross-country trails and at the biathlon area. The national biathlon teams from Canada and Norway are amongst the many that use Seefeld as a training camp. The elite from the world of cross-country skiing also take advantage of the perfect conditions: the Russian national cross-country team, the American combination team and Paralympics winner Martin Schulz could be found on the trails of the region. Those who want to tread in the footsteps of their heroes will find themselves at home in the Olympiaregion Seefeld!
Introductory biathlon course
Why not try this winter sport yourself with some time on the trails and at the shooting range? A free introductory course is on offer which will give you an idea of the rules of biathlon and shooting technique. Sounds interesting? Here’s how to do it: visitors with the Olympiaregion Seefeld Card and any others who are interested can register at any of our information offices. Grab your family, friends or training partner and take part. Enjoy the experience!
Photos: Andre Schönherr