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.
I’ve seen the biathalon on American TV, and the pistol, rifle and archery competitions in the summer games.
I watched the biathlon yesterday with the shooting elements. Soon after had to checkout those 22 rifles. Couldn’t believe they ran between 3 and 4 grand.
My little $150 Remington w/scope nails a quarter @ 100 yards no problem every time.
Those 22 rifles hardly make any noise. I want to hear a real bang with visible recoil..
So the solution to the US failures in this event are pretty straightforward: stop eating chicken wings, start drinking vodka.
Worked for me. I lost weight.
That would be awesome.
My Remington 700 SPS nails coyotes at 500 yards no problem and every time.
NBC has ruined the Olympics with their platitudes and idiotic gibberish.
I love watching it. When is it on?
Your picture makes Bob Costa’s one good eye weep.
Hey, at least they have ammo.
(s)due to global warming they have intoduced the bikini biathalon(/s)
seriously I am not wasting my time with this NBC coverage. The olympics would be better off using in house commentators that said NOTHING or were as exciting as cspan trained people. (cspan has special “be boring” classes)
NBC forgot about the atlanta games where the athletes actually hijacked the buses because the union drivers did not know where they were going.
They harped on endlessly about the ring not opening while forgetting in Vancouver, they couldn’t even get the Olympic Flame lit.
Hey Norm: That is what I was wondering.
Where the heck are they getting 22 ammo?
"Look, the men's downhill! And they skipped three skiers to show some obscure guy . . . I wonder what medal he wins." /s
They certainly aren’t getting it from Russia. They’d have to go from “ski, shoot, ski, shoot” to “ski, shoot, breakdown and clean weapon, ski, shoot ...”
Nor can anyone else. It's called heightened security.
Why, ValMart, of course.
And what about the LGTQ athletes?
Still easier than walking your rifle to the shooting range in the U.S.
The flame lit up OK, the problem is that one of the four supporting pillars failed to deploy.
Eley Tenex Biathalon Ammo, available at Midway $23.99 for 50 rounds.
US Athletes would use the US Rifle Cal .30 M1 aka the Garand.
Not a bolt action, but what they hey ... It's what our GIs used.
This is my rifle. There are many others like it, but this one is MINE.
22s are fun to start with. They’re accurate and low recoil.
But I think it would be sweet to have something in .30 caliber, with a little longer range, and historic relevance as well.
Imagine - cross country ski, with a .30-40 Krag Jorgensen strapped on your back... or a Mauser...
But hey... either way, it’s a gun sport, and we Americans are gun people (most of us, anyway), and we should be supporting and encouraging and pretty much demanding that OUR people bring home the Gold.
As a firearms instructor myself, I love to watch how people handle firearms in active sporting contests and under pressure. Loved the show “Top Shot” and look forward to it coming back on.
They used ‘03 Springfields in World War II too. And Marine and Army snipers were still using them in Korea and Vietnam.
For me, it would have to be bolt guns. I’d pick the M1903A2. Or a British Enfield No.4 Rifle (LOVE those...)
While I absolutely LOVE the M1 Garand (it was the first rifle I ever learned to shoot) and I have one, I think the bolt-action levels the playing field a but more. EVERY one would be handicapped by losing the sight picture from operating the bolt, re-acquiring the target, etc.,
And yes, there ARE many like it, but THIS one... THIS one is MINE, baby!! Haha!