Sunday, February 7, 2010

TIME: "How They Train: Biathlon"

Out of all the sports in the Winter Olympics, the one I find most puzzling is the biathlon. When I first heard about it, I thought it was some duo combination of the triathlon sports (swimming, bicycling, and/or running). Instead, it comprises of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. Whit claims this is a historically Scandinavian hunting practice (the video explains that it comes from Scandinavian military training). I say that there's no "foraging for edible plants" or "conflict resolution" event in the Summer Olympics.

Since this sport is mostly popular in Europe, Americans haven't made much a dent in it. This has been starting to change. Maine now has a pretty impressive winter sports training facility with the mission of trying to "transform a struggling region into an international center for the biathlon." It's a interesting approach to create viability from within the community, instead of trying to just woo it from the outside. On the other end, American Tim Burke, who was the first ever U.S. biathlete to hold the position as Overall World Cup Biathlon leader, represents America's best chances to medal in this sport.

Here's a video of some biathletes, focusing on Burke, training for the Winter Olympics (via Time):

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