bi·ath·lon | \bī-ˈath-lən, -ˌlän\

Definition of biathlon 

: a composite athletic contest consisting of cross-country skiing and rifle sharpshooting

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A winter sports event, the biathlon combines 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 20-km (12.5-mile) course, carrying a single-shot rifle and ammunition. They stop at four points to fire five shots at small targets. Relay and 10-km events were added in 1968 and 1980 respectively.

Examples of biathlon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Time to get reacquainted with the biathlon, luge and Nordic combined. Phil Rosenthal,, "Live from Pyeongchang: NBC Olympics coverage everywhere all the time — plus VR," 7 Feb. 2018 The biathlon is the only current Winter Olympic sport in which the United States has never won a medal. Sally Bronston, NBC News, "The one Olympic sport that unites Red and Blue America," 11 Feb. 2018 But Reid was a skier for the University of Colorado and decided to give biathlon a shot after watching a competition on TV in 2015. Joe Rexrode, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Madison native Joanne Reid helps Team USA finish 13th in 24km biathlon relay," 22 Feb. 2018 Bailey, 36, competes in the biathlon, which combines skiing and shooting. Jenna West,, "Saturday Daily Olympic Digest: U.S. Falls to Russia in Men's Hockey; Nathan Chen Makes Skating History," 17 Feb. 2018 Ronald Martinez—Getty Images Six sports are played in the Paralympic Games: para alpine skiing, para biathlon, para cross-country skiing, para ice hockey, para snowboard and wheelchair curling. Raisa Bruner, Time, "Everything You Need to Know About the PyeongChang Paralympics," 16 Feb. 2018 There's also skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, biathlon and more. Kate Silver,, "Curling in Chicago? Bobsled for amateurs? Get your Olympics fix at these spots around the country.," 28 Feb. 2018 Only Norway's Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (eight) has more Olympic gold medals in the biathlon than Fourcade, who has a chance for another gold medal on Friday in the men's relay. Steve Reed, Houston Chronicle, "French biathlete Martin Fourcade first to win 3 golds at Pyeongchang," 20 Feb. 2018 And four years ago in Sochi, warm temperatures caused delays as thick layers of fog lingered over the mountains, impacting biathlon and snowboarding events. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "2018 Winter Olympics: Wind postpones events, forces spectators to seek cover," 14 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'biathlon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of biathlon

1956, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for biathlon

bi- entry 1 + -athlon (as in decathlon)

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Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for biathlon

The first known use of biathlon was in 1956

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English Language Learners Definition of biathlon

sports : an event in which athletes ski over the countryside and stop to shoot rifles at targets

More from Merriam-Webster on biathlon

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to reject or criticize sharply

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