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

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 Andrey Savinov, a 53-year-old Muscovite, said while waiting for the start of the biathlon, a sport in which Russia had doping problems long before 2014. David Segal, New York Times, "Russian Fans at the Olympics Are Loud, Proud and Angry," 20 Feb. 2018 Other medals due to be awarded on Saturday include events in women's biathlon, men's ski jumping, women's 3,000-meter speedskating and men's 1,500-meter short-track speedskating. Dennis Waszak Jr.,, "Sweden's Charlotte Kalla wins the 1st gold medal of Pyeongchang Olympics," 10 Feb. 2018 Medals were awarded in biathlon, cross-country skiing, speedskating, short-track speedskating and ski jumping. Charlotte Carroll,, "PyeongChang 2018 Medal Tracker: Netherlands, Norway Lead Count After Day 1 of Winter Games," 10 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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Statistics for biathlon

Last Updated

29 Mar 2019

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with biathlon Encyclopedia article about biathlon

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