Biathlon is a combination of freestyle cross-country skiing and rifle shooting.

The shooting takes place at the same site throughout the whole competition and the distance to the targets is 50 metres. The weapons used have a barrel calibre of 5.6 mm (.22 in. long rifle) and muzzle velocity must not exceed 380 m/s. The weapons are specially produced for biathlon. The minimum allowable weight of the weapon is 3.5 kg; the target area for prone shooting is 4.5 cm and for standing it is 11.5 cm.

Biathlon competition types

The men compete over 10 km, the women over 7.5 km, and shoot twice (prone-standing). One missed shot means a penalty loop of 150 m.

The men compete over 12.5 km, the women over 10 km, and shoot four times (prone-prone-standing-standing). One missed shot means a penalty loop of 150 m. The start order and start interval are decided by the sprint race, which has often been held on the previous day. This means that only the top 60 may start.

The men compete over 20 km, the women over 15 km, and shoot four times (prone- standing- prone-standing). One missed shot means a one-minute penalty.

Mass start
The men compete over 15 km, the women over 12.5 km, and shoot four times (prone-prone-standing-standing). One missed shot means a penalty loop of 150 m. At international level (Olympics, World Championships, World Cups) only the top 30 men and women in the current world rankings are allowed to start.

The men compete over 4 x 7.5 km, the women over 4 x 6 km and each competitor shoots twice (prone-standing) and may use three spare rounds per shooting bout. Each missed shot over and above the three reserve rounds means a penalty loop of 150 m.

Mixed relay
Two ladies and two men compete in each team. The startorder within the teams are easily enough, ladies first. The ladies ski 6km each and the men 7,5km each, all team members shoot two times(prone-standing + three extra rounds per shooting if needed) on their leg. For each remainding black target after the five plus three shots the athletet will have to do a penalty loop of 150m.

Single Mixed relay
One lady and one man competes for each team. The ladies start by skiing a lap on a 1,5km course, then they shoot prone, takes another lap and then standing shooting. Right after the penaltyloop the lady hand over to the man who does the same thing. They hand over to each other each time they have done their prone and standing shooting once, and repeat the procedure two times. When both athletes in the team have shot four times, the men takes a final lap and heads for the finnishline. Other than that and a shorter penaltyloop the rules for relay are the same.