|Competitions held||96 (Venues)|
Attempts to introduce a winter multi-event, patterned after the modern pentathlon, began in 1948, when the winter pentathlon was contested at the St. Moritz Olympics as a demonstration sport. It consisted of cross-country and downhill skiing, and also shooting, fencing, and horse riding.
Biathlon, which consists of cross-country skiing in which the runner stops at intervals to shoot a rifle at a target, was known in the 1920s but was not popular until the 1950s. In 1924, a military patrol race was a medal sport at the Olympic Winter Games. Military ski patrol was similar to a team biathlon event, with team members skiing together.
The first World Championships were held in 1958 at Saalfelden, Austria. The sport was quickly placed on the Olympic Program, showing up at Squaw Valley in 1960. Women’s biathlon made its Olympic début in 1992 as a full medal sport at Albertville.
Biathlon is currently governed by the Internationale Biathlon Union (IBU), which has 59 member nations as of 2020. Beginning in 1948, biathlon was governed by the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne et Biathlon, which oversaw both sports, but the organization split into two governing bodies in 1993.
Biathlon events originally consisted of a single men’s race (20 km) and a men’s relay (4×7.5 km) until 1980 when a second individual event (10 km sprint) was contested. Men and women now compete at five Olympic events – sprint, pursuit, mass start, long-distance, and relay. Biathlon is scored by time with penalties given for missing a target in the shooting phases. Depending on the event, the penalty may be assessed either by a time addition or requiring the athlete to ski an extra penalty lap.
Norway has been the most successful nation in Olympic biathlon, winning 55 medals and 22 golds, immediately followed by Germany, with 54 medals and 20 golds. The most successful individual has been Norway’s Ole Einar Bjørndalen, with 13 medals and eight gold medals, while France’s Martin Fourçade and Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Bø have won the next most gold medals, with five each. Among women, Uschi Disl (GER) has won nine medals and two gold medals, while Belarussian Darya Domracheva leads the gold medal count, with four gold medals and six medals in all.
|People's Republic of China||CHN||2||0||1||3|
|Ole Einar Bjørndalen||NOR||8||4||1||13|
|Johannes Thingnes Bø||NOR||5||2||1||8|
|Emil Hegle Svendsen||NOR||4||3||1||8|
|Aleksandr Tikhonov|| RUS
|Name||Gender||Still contested?||Times held?|
|10 kilometres Sprint||Men||12|
|12.5 kilometres Pursuit||Men||6|
|15 kilometres Mass Start||Men||5|
|4 × 7.5 kilometres Relay||Men||15|
|7.5 kilometres Sprint||Women||9|
|10 kilometres Pursuit||Women||6|
|12.5 kilometres Mass Start||Women||5|
|4 × 6 kilometres Relay||Women||5|
|2 × 6 kilometres and 2 × 7.5 kilometres Relay||Mixed||3|
|7.5 kilometres Sprint||Boys||3|
|10 kilometres Pursuit||Boys||2|
|6 kilometres Sprint||Girls||3|
|7.5 kilometres Pursuit||Girls||2|
|2 × 6 kilometres and 2 × 7.5 kilometres Relay||Mixed Youth||3|
|6 and 7.5 kilometres Single Relay||Mixed Youth||2|
|3 × 7.5 kilometres Relay||Women||1|
|4 × 7.5 kilometres Relay||Women||3|