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Winter sports event combining cross-country skiing with rifle sharpshooting. It originated in Scandinavian hunting. It was first included in the Winter Olympics program in 1960. Competitors cover a course, carrying a single-shot rifle and ammunition and stopping at four points to fire five shots at small targets. Events are either 10 or 20 km long, and there are a variety of race types, including relay, sprint, and pursuit.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on biathlon, visit Britannica.com.