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| Event type

20 kilometres, Men

Date21 February 1960
StatusOlympic
LocationMcKinney Creek Stadium, Tahoma, California
Participants30 from 9 countries
FormatTwo-minute penalty for each missed target.
Venue detailsCourse Length: ?
Height Differential: ?
Maximum Climb: ?
Shooting 1: ? at 6.5 km, 200 m range
Shooting 2: ? at 9.5 km, 250 m range
Shooting 3: ? at 12.5 km, 150 m range
Shooting 4: ? at 15 km, 100 m range
Total Climbing: ?

Biathlon was a new event in the Olympic program 1960. It was an individual variant of the military ski patrol competition, an official medal sport in 1924, and organized as a demonstration sport on several earlier Olympic occasions. The first World Championships were organized in Saalfelden, Austria in 1958 with Adolf Wiklund from Sweden as the first champion. One year later the Soviets took a double in Courmayeur, Italy, with Vladimir Melanin as winner and Dmitry Sokolov in second place. The Olympic biathlon competition in 1960 was contested over 20 km with 20 shots fired over four different ranges: 200m, 250m, 150m and 100m. The first three series were fired from a prone position, the last standing. Each missed target gave a two minute penalty, which was added to the final time. In 1967 the penalty for each missed target was reduced from two to one minute. Also the weapon was different from the small board rifle in use nowadays. The biathletes at that time used a high-power center fire rifle, normally caliber 7,62 mm. The normal start interval in those days was two minutes, but due to very mild temperatures the intervals were reduced to one minute for the first Olympic event.

Before the final five standing shots, only three participants had been able to hit all 15 targets, and those three held the medal positions. Aleksandr Privalov from the Soviet Union had a lead of over two minutes on the Swede Klas Lestander, and the Norwegian 38-year-old veteran Henry Hermansen followed closely in third place. But the final standing shooting turned out to be decisive. Lestander once again made 5 hits, the only competitor to hit all 20 targets, and would finish as Olympic champion, even if his cross country time was the 15th best of the day out of 30 competitors. Privalov missed three times, was penalized with six minutes, and was also passed in the final stage by the Finn Antti Tyrväinen, who had two missed targets on the first two shooting phases, but was able to hit his last 10 targets. For Hermansen, the final shooting phase was even worse - he missed four shots and went down to 10th place overall.

The fastest skier of the day, the French cross country specialist Victor Arbez, had a cross-country time almost 7 1/2 minutes better than the Olympic Champion Lestander, but was only able to hit 2 of his 20 targets. He was penalized 36 minutes and ended up placing 25th out of the 30 competitors.

The Olympic Champion Klas Lestander was 28, and came from the little village Arjeplog in the Lapland area in the far north of Sweden. He ended his athletic career after being a member of the Swedish relay team that placed third at the 1961 World Biathlon Championships. At that time, the relay event was not an official championships event.

PosNrBiathleteNOCTimeMissesSkiing (Pos)
114Klas LestanderSWE1-33:21.601-33:21.6 (15)Gold
220Antti TyrväinenFIN1-33:57.721-29:57.7 (10)Silver
330Aleksandr PrivalovURS1-34:54.231-28:54.2 (6)Bronze
423Vladimir MelaninURS1-35:42.441-27:42.4 (3)
515Valentin PshenitsynURS1-36:45.831-30:45.8 (13)
66Dmitry SokolovURS1-38:16.751-28:16.7 (4)
77Ola WærhaugNOR1-38:35.811-36:35.8 (23)
827Martti MeiniläFIN1-39:17.051-29:17.0 (8)
918Kuno WernerGER1-41:33.861-29:33.8 (9)
1016Henry HermansenNOR1-42:20.141-34:20.1 (20)
1124Jon IstadNOR1-44:53.541-36:53.5 (26)
125Tage LundinSWE1-45:56.361-33:56.3 (19)
131Herbert KirchnerGER1-46:35.641-38:35.6 (27)
142John BurrittUSA1-46:36.851-36:36.8 (25)
153Eero LaineFIN1-47:28.371-33:28.3 (16)
1629Sven AggeSWE1-48:21.791-30:21.7 (12)
1725Horst NickelGER1-48:28.981-32:28.9 (14)
1812Pentti TaskinenFIN1-50:29.771-36:29.7 (22)
1922Adolf WiklundSWE1-54:07.8121-30:07.8 (11)
2010Kurt HinzeGER1-54:36.591-36:36.5 (24)
2119Dick MizeUSA1-55:56.2111-33:56.2 (18)
224René MercierFRA1-56:13.2151-26:13.2 (2)
2326Gustav HansonUSA1-58:06.291-40:06.2 (28)
2411Larry DamonUSA1-59:38.2131-33:38.2 (17)
2528Victor ArbezFRA2-01:58.4181-25:58.4 (1)
269Pál SajgóHUN2-02:27.3141-34:27.3 (21)
2713Gilbert MercierFRA2-03:16.6171-29:16.6 (7)
2821Paul RomandFRA2-04:48.4181-28:48.4 (5)
298John MooreGBR2-08:50.8141-40:50.8 (29)
3017Norman ShuttGBR2-11:36.5131-45:36.5 (30)