Biathlon is an Olympic winter sport that combines rifle shooting and cross-country skiing in various race formats. In the individual distance (15 km for women and 20 km for men), athletes compete over 5 laps of skiing with shooting between each 2 laps (ie, 4 shootings). The aim of the current study was to compare total race time differences, as well as the contribution from cross-country skiing and shooting variables to this difference, between biathletes of different performance levels and sexes in individual races in the Biathlon World Cup. Based on the publicly available race reports, the authors compared these factors between top-10 results (G1–10) and results within rank 21–30 (G21–30), as well as the corresponding sex differences. G21–30 among men/women were on average 4%/6% behind G1–10 in total race time, in which course time accounted for 42%/54% of the overall performance difference, followed by 53%/44% explained by penalty time caused by shooting performance (ie, the number of hits). The remaining 2–3% was explained by differences in shooting time and range time. Women G1–10 were on average 15% slower in skiing speed than men G1–10, which accounted for 92% of the overall performance difference between sexes. In total, among G1–10, men shot on average 15 s faster than women, and total penalty time was 18 s shorter. In conclusion, course time and penalty time contributed approximately equally to the performance-level differences, whereas course time explained above 90% of the sex differences in individual World Cup biathlon races.
The authors are with the Dept of Neuromedicine and Movement Science, Faculty of Medicine and Health Science, Center for Elite Sports Research, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.
Luchsinger H, Kocbach J, Ettema G, Sandbakk Ø. Comparison of the effects of performance level and sex on sprint performance in the Biathlon World Cup. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2018;13(3):360–366. doi:10.1123/ijspp.2017-0112
LuchsingerH, KocbachJ, EttemaG, SandbakkØ. Comparison of the effects of performance level and sex on sprint performance in the Biathlon World Cup. . 2018;13(3):360–366. doi:10.1123/ijspp.2017-011210.1123/ijspp.2017-011228771061)| false
RundellKW, BacharachDW. Physiological characteristics and performance of top U.S. biathletes. . 1995;27(9):1302–1310. PubMed ID: 8531629 doi:10.1249/00005768-199509000-0001010.1249/00005768-199509000-000108531629)| false
Kemnitz CP, Johnson RF, Merullo DJ, Rice VJ. Relation of rifle stock length and weight to military rifle marksmanship performance by men and women. Percept Mot Skills. 2001;93(2):479–485. PubMed ID: 11769906 doi:10.2466/pms.2001.93.2.479
KemnitzCP, JohnsonRF, MerulloDJ, RiceVJ. Relation of rifle stock length and weight to military rifle marksmanship performance by men and women. . 2001;93(2):479–485. PubMed ID: 11769906 doi:10.2466/pms.2001.93.2.47910.2466/PMS.93.6.479-48511769906)| false
Sandbakk Ø, Ettema G, Holmberg HC. Gender differences in endurance performance by elite cross-country skiers are influenced by the contribution from poling. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2014;24(1):28–33. PubMed ID: 22621157 doi:10.1111/j.1600-0838.2012.01482.x
SandbakkØ, EttemaG, HolmbergHC. Gender differences in endurance performance by elite cross-country skiers are influenced by the contribution from poling. . 2014;24(1):28–33. PubMed ID: 22621157 doi:10.1111/j.1600-0838.2012.01482.x2262115710.1111/j.1600-0838.2012.01482.x)| false
Bolger CM, Kocbach J, Hegge AM, Sandbakk Ø. Speed and heart-rate profiles in skating and classical cross-country-skiing competitions. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2015;10(5):873–880. doi:10.1123/ijspp.2014-0335
Sandbakk Ø, Solli GS, Holmberg HC. Sex differences in world-record performance: the influence of sport discipline and competition duration. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2018;13(1):2–8. PubMed ID: 28488921 doi:10.1123/ijspp.2017-0196
SandbakkØ, SolliGS, HolmbergHC. Sex differences in world-record performance: the influence of sport discipline and competition duration. . 2018;13(1):2–8. PubMed ID: 28488921 doi:10.1123/ijspp.2017-019610.1123/ijspp.2017-019628488921)| false
Trubee NW, Vanderburgh PM, Diestelkamp WS, Jackson KJ. Effects of heat stress and sex on pacing in marathon runners. J Strength Cond Res. 2014;28(6):1673–1678. PubMed ID: 24149746 doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000000295
TrubeeNW, VanderburghPM, DiestelkampWS, JacksonKJ. Effects of heat stress and sex on pacing in marathon runners. . 2014;28(6):1673–1678. PubMed ID: 24149746 doi:10.1519/JSC.00000000000002952414974610.1519/JSC.0000000000000295)| false