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02/25/2010

Biathlon

Bernard Weil, Chief Photographer, Multimedia

I have a newfound appreciation for a sport I knew little about. Combining both cross country skiing and rifle shooting, the biathlon has to be one of the more grueling competitions at the Olympics. The athletes endurance levels and ability to stand or lie motionless while shooting a circular target as small as an egg from 50 metres are beyond what I can imagine.

Contrasted against this was the beautiful scenery of the surrounding mountains and forest. 

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I took advantage of an early morning snowfall as eventual gold medal winner Magdalena Neuner, of Germany, climbs a grade during Women's Biathlon 10km sprint, February 16. By the end of the event, most of the snow had already melted.

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Exhausted, Canadian Megan Tandy crosses the finish line and collapses during Women's Biathlon 10km February 16, 2010. 

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Canadian Rosanna Crawford slings her rifle after shooting at the target during biathlon training.

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Lying prone, athletes have to hit five targets 45mm in size and 50 metres away. A penalty loop of about 150 metres is added for each missed target.

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Canadian Jean Philippe Leguellec trails American Tim Burke during the men's biathlon 15km mass start, February 21.

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Skiers bunch up as they approach a hill.

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Silhouetted against track marks left on the course, skiiers take practice laps to test out different ski and wax combinations prior to the men's biathlon 15km mass start.

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Canadian Jean Philippe Leguellec is framed by mountains during the men's biathlon 15km mass start, February 21, 2010,

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You captured the essence of the sport with your imagery!

The actual "ten ring" aperture in the target assembly, or the visible part that falls is slightly smaller than a Toronto Transit Commission fare token at 20 meters. Near misses outside of that "ten ring" will not knock it down.

So, biatheletes literally have to shoot bulls eyes on each and every shot.

They have to rival expert level Free or Standard Rifle shooters in order to be competitive. Quite the feat in anyone's imagination.

fantastic images! quite inspiring

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