And now that the Biathlon season is about to begin – Next November 25th in Ostersund – we bring you some of the features of Relays since the first event in Sweden will be precisely a Mixed relay.
Before we start describing how relays work, may be it is now worthwhile for you to remember some of our earlier posts in which we have described several other biathlon events (Sprint, Pursuit, Individual and Mass Start).
There are three relay events : Men, Women and Mixed Relays. These events are a national teams’ competition.
In all of them the shooting rules are equal, but the course distance varies:
Men relay – 4 x 7.5 Km
Women Relay – 4 x 6.0 Km
Mixed Relay – 2 x 6.0 Km (2 women), which run first, + 2 x 7.5 Km (2 men)
Each of the 4 biathletes have to run a course like if it was a sprint, but in this case all national teams entering the competition start at the same time. The biathlete’s bibs have two numbers: A bigger one which is the National Team number and a smaller one that respects to the relay phase the Biathlete is in (Number 1, 2, means biathlete of Team number 1, running the second course of the relay). The first shooting session is taken in the range with the same number of the team, while the remaining 7 seven sessions are taken in lanes which number matches the team current position.
There are two shooting sessions for each Biathlete – the first in the prone position and the last in the standing one (at Km 2.5 and 5.0 for men and 2.0 and 4.0 for women) Differently from other biathlon events, spare rounds of ammunition are allowed. in fact, each biathlete has 8 bullets that he can use to handle the five targets.
The first five are already inside a magazine attached to the rifle and are fired without the need to reload the rifle. If one or more shots are missed the biathlete can reload the remaining 3 bullets, one by one, into the rifle and make another shooting attempt.
Of course that feeding new bullets into the rifle wastes precious time, but it is a better solution than going straight to a skiing penalty loop of 150 metres, thus penalizing a bit less Biathletes that are not sharp shooters. Nonetheless, if after the 8 bullets were used some targets were still missed, then penalty loops will have to be accomplished.
Once a Biathlete finishes his/her course he must touch (after the finish line) his/her teammate body for the relay handling to be considered as regular.
The fastest team, of course, wins!
You may also want to check out the profile of the best Biathlete ever!