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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been watching the Biathlon events at Sochi with a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm this year, it's a great sport and I've really grown quite fond of it. There have also been some exceptionally exciting finishes this year, all in all every race has been fun to watch and i'm glad i took the time to watch and get to know it better. I think more Americans should try to discover this amazing sport.

Anyway, my problem is that I've been very frustrated and a little embarrassed with the performances of the Americans. They do great with the skiing portion, that's not usually the problem, but when they get to the range they get outshot by the Russians, Ukrainians, Germans, French, Norwegians, Swedes, Belarusians, you name it, and then they end up falling way behind due to it. Some of the events are even geared towards shooting excellence rather than skiing skills, like the Pursuit (which BTW is amazing to watch), but then again shooting is where the Americans seem to fall short.

What's up with this? I know we have people here that can shoot the eyes out of a fly, so why are we so outclassed? Are our good shots too fat and lazy to get fit enough for the skiiing part, hehe? Are out best skiers a bunch of liberals that hate guns, hehe? It would seem to me that with all the military background and traditions we have in the US, not to mention public shooting enthusiasm (and gun shooting competitions), coupled with our extreme drive to be the best of the best, that we would have better luck competing in this military-based shooting sport?

I guess my frustration boiled over today during the Women's relay, we were in third or fourth place until one or two legs where we had miss after miss on the range. Only one US woman actually shot really well (Studebaker), which was a sight to behold, but overall (and through the entire Olympics) we didnt do so well on the range, be it men or women.

I'm certainly not a longtime follower of this sport, so I have a limited knowledge base and I might be all wrong, but from listening to the announcers and knowing we have never won a medal in this sport, ever apparently, I was just wondering why not.

Maybe there are some Biathlon fans here that have a better overview.
 

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I guess i'm being a bit naive. Shooting really well when your heart is pumping 140 BPS after skiing a few miles at full speed up and down steep mountainsides, is not the same as normal shooting at the range, of course.
 

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That event is geared towards Europeans, Eastbloc & Russians IMO, since they actually live in conditions of that sport. I don't think US personnel do any type of training that requires cross-country skiing and marksmanship shooting.
 

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I enjoy biathlon; sometimes it goes your way sometimes not. The buy in must suck so bad though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That event is geared towards Europeans, Eastbloc & Russians IMO, since they actually live in conditions of that sport. I don't think US personnel do any type of training that requires cross-country skiing and marksmanship shooting.
Well, I'm sure it helps if you are not a spoiled American living in sunny FL in the Summer and Conn in the Winter, haha, but most of our competitors live in northern Winter weather areas and have spent their entire lives training for these events. That also sounds like an excuse to say it's geared for somebody else to me. I also assume the 10th Mountain Division still does skiing? We also have world class civilian skiers that spend their whole lives skiing and training for such events, and we also have world class shooting sportsmen. We just don't seem to have them all in the same person, for some strange reason. Like I said, they don't have trouble with the skiing, anyway, it's the shooting part they have trouble with. Did you watch the events?
 

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Well, I'm sure it helps if you are not a spoiled American living in sunny FL in the Summer and Conn in the Winter, haha, but most of our competitors live in northern Winter weather areas and have spent their entire lives training for these events. That also sounds like an excuse to say it's geared for somebody else to me. I also assume the 10th Mountain Division still does skiing? We also have world class civilian skiers that spend their whole lives skiing and training for such events, and we also have world class shooting sportsmen. We just don't seem to have them all in the same person, for some strange reason. Like I said, they don't have trouble with the skiing, anyway, it's the shooting part they have trouble with. Did you watch the events?
Didn't watch the actual events, but I have watched them in the past. I don't think anyone in the US lives a life cross-country skiing and then target shooting. Heck, the Europeans did this in WWII for missions. Do we have military units that train for this type of shooting? Not saying that its geared to European athletes alone, but when you live in country that has this embedded in their military training going way back to who knows when, your going to expect them to excel at it. Same goes in the US. You're not going to expect hockey players from the Southern states, but you sure see a lot of Northerners and Canadians really good at it.
 

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I've shot competitively and coached in both Europe and America years ago, and frankly the American sports club culture is nearly completely absent on this. Part of that is, I believe, is because Americans have so little regulation vis-a-vis firearms. Because firearms ownership is so common, no one has to belong to any club or association to own and shoot firearms, therefore the great majority of US shooting is informal and non-competitive.

The European sports clubs dedicated to the shooting sports are numerous and extremely well furnished. If a typical Euro wants to shoot, they generally have to belong to a club and attend organized shooting events to "prove" they "need a gun" or even the gun must be maintained on the club's premises. This leads to the domination of Europeans in most organized shooting competitions, imo.
 

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Well, I'm sure it helps if you are not a spoiled American living in sunny FL in the Summer and Conn in the Winter, haha, but most of our competitors live in northern Winter weather areas and have spent their entire lives training for these events. That also sounds like an excuse to say it's geared for somebody else to me. I also assume the 10th Mountain Division still does skiing? We also have world class civilian skiers that spend their whole lives skiing and training for such events, and we also have world class shooting sportsmen. We just don't seem to have them all in the same person, for some strange reason. Like I said, they don't have trouble with the skiing, anyway, it's the shooting part they have trouble with. Did you watch the events?
Also certain elements do. Having done Military ski training, its a very hard skill to pick up. Not something you can teach a Private in a week. There is a also a HUGE difference between downhill skiing, and "touring" which requires you to ski on flat, up and down.

Having had experience with the Armies from that part of the world, the people there are "born with their skis on". They ski every day of their lives in many places.....Its like walking...... Also, shooting is still a part of their daily lives as well... The same people that ski everyday, hunt every day as well.. They don't just do it as a sport.

US, even in somewhere where there is allot of snow, not so much..... Think about it, does the average person in the US ski? Its mostly a rich mans sport.
 

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As Robin Williams once said, and im paraphrasing here, ....The biathlon is a Norwegian drive by!! :D

Also I think all the 22lr hoarding is what really hurt the US. Nothing or the team to practice with! :D
 

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That event is geared towards Europeans, Eastbloc & Russians IMO, since they actually live in conditions of that sport. I don't think US personnel do any type of training that requires cross-country skiing and marksmanship shooting.
It's been below freezing in Minnesota since mid-November and people were walking on ice covered lakes since Thanksgiving. We have 5-7 ft. drifts of snow now. The low last night was around 5f. The snow/ice might not all be melted and gone until May.

I have cross country skiied in the past and have "meant" to get back into it just for the fitness aspect. I still like downhill skiing which is more of a "fun" thing and has less utilitarian (transportation) and fitness aspects. We did cross country skiing in gym class back in high school. We never combined skiing and marksmanship though.

I have been watching the biathlon as well and think it is one of the more interesting events.
 

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I think some of these other countries have a higher rate of military trained citizens. This would include more people exposed skiing and shooting as a whole, which in turn widens the pool and makes for a creamier crop.
 

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Obviously, I'm proud when Americans win an event but I also like to see other country's athletes kick our butts every once in a while. The U.S. is one of the most powerful countries in the world and some little country that beats us in an Olympic event bursts with pride upon wooping the "Big, Bad Americans." I used to work with NATO officers a lot when I was in the Army and often was humbled at how good some of their people are. Not once did I ever engage in a "we're better than you" debate.
 

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I know shit about what it takes to perform at that level so I'd be blowing smoke up yer arse to comment. Any comment I'd have would be biased towards unscientific opinions and gut feelings more than fact and research.
 

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BBC's Top Gear did an Winter Olympics piece back in 2008, where they featured ways to improve the biathlon.

4x4s and machine guns. Now THAT's a biathlon I'd love to see!
 

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Get some companies offering up some multi-million dollar endorsement deals for biathlon winners and watch us Americans get better at it...
 
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To my knowledge, no American has ever medaled in that event. As has already been pointed out, shooting bulls eye's with a high heart rate is challenging to say the least.
 

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Saying this sport is geared to other countries is a cop out. We don't have bobsled tracks carved into the landscape or naturally occurring parallel bars either, it's not a question of whats innate to our landscape- it's all about desire and effort. The reason Americans don't medal in the biathlon is because its a sport that's largely ignored here. If you had a bigger pool of competitors and more support for it, you'd have better chances in competition.
 
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