Rules

BiathlonThere are rules for everything imaginable from sponsorship and drugs to course elevation. This section outlines the main rules needed to get someone started; more details can be found in the IBU Rule Book.

Targets: Each lane consists of five individual targets located at 50m to the left of the competitor when they enter the range. The five targets are arranged in a row in a metal box. The metal targets knock down if there is sufficient force. If sufficient force is applied a white paddle covers the single black target. This mechanism allows the competitor to easily count the number of laps he or she needs to complete; all five targets can easily be reset with the pull of a string by a range official. The standing target is 115mm in diameter, and in prone it is adjusted to 45mm.
 
Penalties: The penalty loop is an extra 150m skied after each time in the range. The loop must be skied once for every target missed; the onus is on the competitor to keep track of how many loops he or she has skied. Although there isn't a penalty for skiing too many loops however, there is two minute penalty for each loop missed. The penalty lap is located at the exit end of the range. An international level biathlete can complete a lap in 30-45sec. The time penalty consists of an additional minute added to the racer's time for each target missed and is only associated with the individual event.

Equipment: There are equipment checks at almost every race. This is done to ensure that all competitors are competing on a level field. Your rifle, skis and poles are marked with a unique sticker, usually your bib number when they clear the equipment check.
After you finish your race you are required to reenter the checking area to clear your equipment. An athlete must enter the checking area no later than 15 minutes prior to their start.

Rifle: The rifle is .22 caliber and can be made by any company, most commonly Anschutz, Vostok, or Lakefield. The Canadian Lakefield is an inexpensive rifle for beginners. Two restrictions regarding the rife are the trigger weight and the weight of the rifle itself. The trigger weight is the amount of pressure applied to the trigger to fire the firing pin, a minimum of 500 gm. A rifle cannot be lighter than 3.5 kg. The serial number of your rifle is recorded to ensure you have used the same one throughout the race.
 
Skis: Ski length is athlete's height minus 4cm.