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How You Know We’re Winning?

The New York Times does a positive story on the increasing popularity of biathlon, even though they get something wrong:

The biggest challenge of the sport is the abrupt switch between disciplines: going all out on skis, and then stopping, catching one’s breath and calming one’s nerves for the precision of using a rifle for target shooting. It’s believed to have its origins in hunting, which, in snowy Northern European climes, required just that switch from fast skiing to steady shooting.

They are right about the challenge, but biathlon has nothing to do with hunting.  It’s actually, at root, a practical shooting discipline that has its origins with the Norwegian military.  The rifles have evolved well beyond that, but being able to go from skiing to shooting is a soldier’s game, not a hunter’s.

2 Responses to “How You Know We’re Winning?”

  1. Overload in CO says:

    FWIW, there’s a summer biathlon here in Colorado. It replaces skiing with mountain biking. So, you ride a lap around the course (off road;usually around the perimeter of the properity), then shot a 22 pistol at 25yds. Misses equal penality laps around a small loop.
    You could hold these almost anywhere.

  2. Don Gwinn says:

    Well, they believe it, so it is believed. What they’re really saying is that they don’t feel like calling anybody about this and they’re pretty sure the explanation they made up is plausible enough that some people probably believe it.

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