Biathlon

Short History

     Biathlon is rooted in the skiing traditions of Scandinavia, where early inhabitants revered the Norse god Ull as both the ski god and the hunting god. The combined skills of skiing and rifle marksmanship were first developed by the region’s militaries. The first recorded biathlon competition took place along the Norway-Sweden border between patrol companies. In 1861 the Trysil Rifle and Ski Club, the first biathlon club, was established in Norway, and thereafter similar clubs were found throughout northern Europe.
     Called military patrol, the combination of skiing and shooting was contested at the Winter Olympic Games in 1924, and then demonstrated in 1928, 1936, and 1948, but did not regain Olympic recognition. In 1948, the International Modern Pentathlon Union was founded, to standardise the rules for the modern pentathlon and, from 1953 also biathlon. In 1993, the biathlon branch of the UIPMB created the International Biathlon Union (IBU), which officially separated from the UIPMB in 1998. The first Biathlon World Championship was held in 1958 in Austria, and in 1960 the sport was finally included in the Winter Olympic Games. At Albertville in 1992, women were first allowed in the Olympic biathlon.

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