Origins of Biathlon

Jason TrommContributor IFebruary 16, 2010

WHISTLER, BC - FEBRUARY 14:  Tim Burke of United States competes in the men's biathlon 10 km sprint final during the Biathlon Men's 10 km Sprint on day 3 of the 2010 Winter Olympics at Whistler Olympic Park Biathlon Stadium on February 14, 2010 in Whistler, Canada.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
I’ve seen several posts on Facebook and heard some people saying, “What’s with that sport where they ski, then shoot and ski again? What’s up with that?” I originally thought the sport originated with German army units in World War II that traveled on skis carrying all their gear with them. They had to be ready to shoot at a moment’s notice.
It turns out, the origins of the sport go back even further than that to Neolithic hunters who shot arrows and wore “sliding timber” on their feet. Written descriptions of military units on skis go back as far as the Romans in 400 BC. You can read more about how the sport evolved here and here.
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