bi·​ath·​lon | \ bī-ˈath-lən How to pronounce biathlon (audio) , -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

Cross-country skiing and biathlon, which combines skiing and shooting a rifle, provide a different type of challenge. Roxanna Scott, USA TODAY, "Aaron Pike makes fast transition from marathons to biathlon, cross country skiing," 8 Mar. 2018 The coverage of the Paralympics includes six winter sports—alpine skiing, snowboarding, sled hockey, wheelchair curling, cross-country skiing, and biathlon. Richard Deitsch,, "How to Watch—And What to Expect From—the Winter Paralympics 2018 on NBC," 7 Mar. 2018 Norway has won 11 medals so far, seven in cross country and biathlon. Author: David Segal, Anchorage Daily News, "Tough job: Norway’s ski wax chief is only noticed when he fails," 14 Feb. 2018 The men’s 10-kilometer biathlon sprint will be at 6:15 a.m. Biathletes need incredible cardiovascular fitness to be able to sprint on cross-country skis and then stop suddenly to shoot targets. Magan Crane, The Seattle Times, "What to watch from Pyeongchang — Day 2," 11 Feb. 2018 In the mens 15k mass start biathlon, eventual winner Martin Fourcade, crumpled in a heap at the effort of the final sprint, had just enough energy to shatter his pole in rage. Kevin Williams,, "Was Canada's Jocelyne Larocque rude for yanking off her silver medal? No, she's a competitor.," 22 Feb. 2018 Expect a biathlon, ice dancing and some cross-cultural differences. Sara Aridi, New York Times, "What’s on TV Tuesday: ‘Coco’ and ‘The Bachelor Winter Games’," 13 Feb. 2018 Other events with medals scheduled to be awarded Monday include the women’s 10-kilometer and men’s 12.5km pursuit biathlon, men’s freestyle moguls, women’s normal hill ski jumping and women’s 1,500-meter speedskating. Dennis Waszak Jr., The Seattle Times, "Canada gets skating gold, American Anderson wins slopestyle," 12 Feb. 2018 Olympic athletes from the eight different sports federations — biathlon, bobsled and skeleton, curling, hockey, figure skating, ski and snowboarding, luge and speedskating — voted for their choice, resulting in the tie. Jennifer Calfas, Time, "Olympic Speedskater Shani Davis Is Furious Over How the U.S. Decided Who Would Carry the Flag," 8 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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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

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