Unlike many other winter sports, biathlon can be traced to prehistoric time. Biathlon arose from the basic need to hunt while traveling quickly over snow. Rock paintings dating back to the Neolithic age, around 3,000 BC, depict hunters with bows and arrows moving on sliding timber.
1700 to 1718: The modern sport develops from cross-country soldiers who patrol the borders of the Scandinavian countries during the Great Scandinavian War.
1767: Norway helps begin the tradition of the competitive biathlon. Two Norwegian cross-country guard companies organize the first recorded biathlon competition.
1912: The Norwegian military holds a race in Oslo.
1918: The Norwegian King's Guard unit hosts a race similar to the one in 1912. The King's Guard race still takes place annually.
1924: Biathlon, called "military patrol," appears as a demonstration sport at the first Olympic Winter Games, held in Chamonix, France.
1948: Organizers drop biathlon from the Olympics due to anti-military sentiment from World War II.
1949: Sweden proposes to call the sport biathlon and keep participation open for civilians.
1955: The renamed biathlon appears as an International Olympic Committee (IOC) sport.
1960: Biathlon becomes an official Olympic event at the Winter Games in Squaw Valley, Calif. Klas Lestander of Sweden wins gold in the only biathlon event contested - the men's 20 km.
1968: The 4x7.5-km men's relay is added to Olympic competition at the Winter Games held in Grenoble, France. The Soviet Union captures the gold medal.
1980: At the Winter Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., the men's 10-km sprint makes its Olympic debut. Frank Ullrich of Easy Germany wins the gold.
1992: Women's biathlon becomes an Olympic sport at the Winter Games in Albertville, France. German Antje Misersky wins the individual, Anfisa Reztsova of the Unified Team captures the sprint gold medal and France takes first in the relay.