Biathlon’s Individual Event – What is it and what matters most?

The Biathlon’s Individual event is the oldest one of them all and where shooting accuracy matters most. Biathletes are required to complete a 20 Km course in the case of men and 15 Km for women (this is the longest race of all Biathlon’s events). Both men and women face 4 shooting range sessions (in each 4km and 3Km of the course for men and women respectively). Athletes normally depart with a 30 second interval from each others.

Differently from other events, missing shots do not oblige biathletes to ski a penalty loop, but instead 1 minute penalty time is added to the course time per each shot missed. Therefore, even great skiers normally fail to win this competition if they fail more than 1 or 2 shoots comparatively to others that register a clean sheet in the shooting range.

Both for the case of men and women, the first 2 shooting sessions are taken alternately in the prone and standing position, being the first the prone. The last shooting range in the standing position is normally the one where biathletes miss most, not only due to the more unstable position, but also because a lot of fatigue and pressure are accumulated already by that time.

In the 2011/2012 season the World Cup’s Global Cristal for the individual event was won by Helena Ekholm and by Simon Fourcade, two of the best sharp shooters in the circuit. The 2012/2013 season starts next November 25th in Oestersund, Sweden, and the first individual event will be held in the 28th starting with men.

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