In the individual and sprint, competitors start at intervals, typically 30 seconds apart. In the pursuit, athletes start at intervals according to the time they trail the leader after the sprint event.
For the relay, the first competitor of each team begins in a mass start. The other team members start after receiving a tag from the previous athlete in the hand-over zone.
Because athletes start at intervals in the individual and sprint, the competitor who completes the course in the fastest time wins.
In the pursuit and relay, the athlete or team to cross the finish line first wins.
When shooting in the prone position, competitors can only touch the rifle with their hands, shoulder and cheek. The wrist supporting the rifle must be clearly off the ground, but the elbow may touch the ground. Athletes may not remove their skis. The other arm may touch the ground for a maximum length of 10 cm from the elbow.
For the standing position, competitors must stand without any support. The rifle can only come in contact with the hands, shoulder, cheek and chest next to the shoulder. The arm supporting the rifle may be held against the chest or put onto the hip. Athletes may not remove their skis.
Carrying the Rifle
While racing, athletes must carry the rifle on their back, with the barrel pointing upwards. If the rifle becomes so damaged during the event that competitors cannot keep it on their back, they must carry it in their hands to the shooting range and then immediately exchange it for the team reserve rifle.
A competitor who is about to be overtaken must clear the track in front of the passing athlete. The passing athlete yells "track" to warn the other competitor. The obligation to yield does not apply during the last 100 meters before the finish line and the last 100 meters before the relay hand-over zone.
Competitors must conduct an exchange within the hand-over zone, touching the body or rifle of the outgoing athlete with their hand.
For the individual and sprint competitions, athletes with the same time are considered tied. Ties are not permitted in the pursuit and relay competitions. A photo finish helps determine which athlete's front foot crosses the finish line first.