There are 11 biathlon events, each of which is scored by time. Men and women compete in sprint, pursuit, individual, mass start, relay and mixed relay events.
During the sprint, women race 7.5km and men race 10km. Competitors stop twice and must hit five targets with five bullets each time. For each target missed, athletes take a lap around the 150m penalty loop. The top 60 finishers in this competition qualify for the pursuit.
In the pursuit, the competitors start at intervals based on their finishing time in the sprint competition. Women race 10km and men race 12.5km. Competitors stop four times and then must hit all five targets with five bullets. For each target missed, athletes take a lap around the 150m penalty loop.
In the individual event, women race 15km and men race 20km. All competitors stop four times at the firing range and must hit all five targets with five bullets. For each target missed, one minute is added to their total time.
The mass start, an individual competition, was added to the Olympic programme in 2006. It is the most race-like event, with all 30 competitors starting at the same time. Start numbers are assigned according to both the results from previous events at the current Olympic Winter Games and the World Cup total standings. Women race 12.5km and men race 15km. They stop four times at the shooting range, where they must hit five targets with five bullets. For each target missed, the athletes take a lap around the 150m penalty loop.
The relay is a fast-paced team event in which four-person teams tackle four 7.5km legs totalling 30km for the men, and four 6km legs totalling 24km for the women. In the mixed relay, both men and women tackle two 6km legs totalling 24km per team. The event begins with a mass start by the first skiers of the respective teams. Each team member has two firing sequences and is allowed three extra bullets (a total of eight) to hit five targets at each shooting stage yet must load the three extra bullets one by one. For each target left standing, competitors ski a lap around the 150m penalty loop.