winter sports pictures
winter sports pictures

U.S. Olympic biathlete Jeremy Teela. See more winter sports pictures.

Photo courtesy Eberlestock

Imagine cross-country skiing for 5 kilometers, then, with your heart pounding, your legs shaking, and your fingers chilled from the cold weather, shooting five targets at 50 meters with exactly five shots. Then you pack up your rifle and ski for another 5 kilometers to the next set of targets. This strange combination of grueling endurance race and marksmanship competition is known as biathlon. It's been an Olympic sport since 1960, and is regularly one of the most watched events for European sports fans.

In this article, we'll learn about the rules and regulations of biathlon, find out what it takes to be a biathlete and learn how it came to be an internationally recognized sport.