Skip to comments.Biathletes Meet Strict Gun Control in Sochi
Posted on 02/11/2014 11:16:39 AM PST by 1rudeboy
SOCHI, RussiaThe most carefully guarded sporting equipment in the Winter Olympics lies behind the door of a sealed-off corridor in a stadium near the upper reaches of the Caucasus Mountains. It is monitored at all hours by security guards who open the door only for its owners. And even then, they need personalized keys to retrieve it from their lockers. For biathletes, the security measures are just one more reminder: It isn't easy getting your equipment around the Olympics when your equipment includes a .22-caliber rifle.
Only the biathlon, which combines cross-country skiing with target shooting, requires athletes to carry firearms on their backs. And while many countries allow biathletes to take their rifles back to their hotel rooms, Russia has stricter rules.
When biathletes arrived in Sochi, their rifles were taken off their planes and delivered directly to the biathlon venue, which is the only place they can access them. Biathletes must sign out their rifles when they arrive and sign them back in before they leave. Every box of ammunition must also be signed out and accounted for.
The measures are similar to those used at previous Olympics, and Russia isn't the only country with such tight controls. But it is among the strictest. "There aren't a lot of other countries like that," said U.S. biathlete Sara Studebaker.
For American biathletes in particular, it represents a stark change from what they are accustomed to at home
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
Russia's obsession with the biathlon is reaching a fever pitch. Today, the sport that combines cross country skiing and target shooting is among the most shown competitions on Russian TV. In polls, Russians name it as their second-favorite winter sport. At some other events here at the Winter Olympics, attendance has been light. But this weekend, Russians packed the biathlon stadium and lined the track with Russian flags. "It's a sport that has a lot of passion," said Alexander Boyko, who brought his family from the Moscow area to cheer on the Russian biathletes in Sochi. "Passion is something that we lack in life."
Guberniev, the 39-year-old, very loud voice of Russian biathlon, would like to send his apologies across the pond.
"I feel sorry for the Americans," Guberniev says. "Maybe all the chicken wings they eat during the American football final prevent them from understanding the biathlon."
The U.S., for all its love of weaponry and abundance of snow, has never won a medal in biathlonthe only Olympic winter sport in which U.S. athletes have never stood on the podium. "Back home, often times you get the question: 'Oh, what's the biathlon? I think I know what that is, that's swimming and running, right?'" says Susan Dunklee, a 27-year-old Olympic biathlete from Craftsbury, Vt., whose 14th-place finish Sunday was the top Olympic biathlon sprint ever by a U.S. woman.
Some Russians like biathlon so much that they even follow the U.S.'s lesser-known stars. Cobb says Russian fan mail has shown up at the U.S. Biathlon Association's headquarters addressed to biathlete Tim Burke. He finished 19th in the 10K men's sprint on Saturday.
Russia's Favorite New Soap Opera: Biathlon, The Wall Street Journal, February 10, 2014.
Everyone, once in their lifetime, needs to watch a world-class biathlon event start to finish (not on American TV). You’ll be hooked.
When will that idiot in oval office let us know how much we should be like Russia when he reads this?
Biathlon may very well be my favorite Winter Olympics event.
I was on a visit to E. Europe a few winters ago, and had EuroSport (or whatever that channel is called) on in my hotel room. It started showing some professional biathlon event. I was mesmerized. (The Euros show the sport long enough without jumping around so that you learn who the athletes are, and who’s on his game).
"Maybe all the chicken wings they eat during the American football final prevent them from understanding the biathlon."
What's to understand? You ski, you shoot, you ski, you shoot, you ski. They are in great shape to be able to hit a tiny target while my breathing and heartbeat would cause me to miss the entire target backing three times out of four, but that doesn't make it difficult to understand.
It was on TV from start to finish with very great coverage.
It was very unbiased and complete. They even showed the shots on the targets. All the women were dang good.
I wish they used a real military bolt action rifle instead of those fancy looking ones with such low power round. The Finn credited with the most sniper kills used a Mosin-Nagant variant. I sure he was doing the “biathlon” on some his kills.
I’ll have to check it out, then. I soured on American coverage years ago.
They really make it seem scary.
And tracer bullets! Shooting at 55gal. drums of gas! At night!
Maybe they should have a Molotov Cocktail variant to honor the Finns.
Bi-athalon? Will Michael Sam be there?
American TV never covers the shooting sports - even when an American wins one of them.
Simho Haya, using an M39 Mosin variant.
The Reds called him “Belaya Smerte” - “The White Death”.
He was THE sniper of his day...
There are no gays competing in them, that's why.
While the US has never finished in the medals in biathlon one Canadian woman from Quebec has. Myriam Bedard at the 1994 winter games in Lillehammer won 2 golds. She had previously won a bronze in 1992 in Albertville. She ran into trouble with kidnapping her child in a child custody dispute in later years and other crazy stuff but she was a winner in 1994.
“..I wish they used a real military bolt action rifle ...”
That would be an awesome idea.
Drag out vintage Kar98K’s, Mosin’s, ‘03 Springfield’s, Enfields, Arisakas.. have each country field with it’s OWN historic bolt action from the period 1900-1950.
Wide range of choices...
A gay bi-athlete? The jokes write themselves.