Does Sochi’s Biathlon Course Really Go Both Ways?


SOCHI, RUSSIA–Controversy has been no stranger to the Sochi Olympics, but fans of biathlon were shocked today by rumors that the 2.5 kilometer track is a ski-only course.The “Laura” Biathlon Complex is home to the sport, which includes cross-country skiing and rifle shooting, but its history with the event is a mixed bag. Norwegian athlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, who won the gold medal in the sprint competition, told reporters, “I was a little surprised to see her open to shooting. As far as I knew, Laura only had a history with skiing.”Russian officials claim that the grueling course has always been interested in rifle shooting.

“While it may be true that this complex has traditionally been home to cross-country skiers, Laura has always had a thing for rifle shooting, especially after a few drinks,” said groundskeeper Maxim Klurov. In fact, he insists, the course considered opening exclusively as a shooting range last winter after a semester abroad.

Attempts to contact the demanding mix of terrain and precision have been blocked by the International Olympic Committee, who released a statement saying only that the course “will play no favorites”. For some, however, the damage is already done. German athlete Simon Schempp addressed reporters in tears, sighing, “I remember when it was skis only… I felt so at home in her curves.”

The course remains open today for practice, though conditions are not favorable for skiing. “Yeah, it’s a bit sloppy now,” said Slovakia’s Anastasiya Kuzmina, who spent five hours on the course last night practicing her aim. She insists she’ll succeed in today’s competition. “After last night’s target practice, I think we’ll see that Laura is quite receptive to a confident trigger finger,” she added with a grin.

(Written by uber-fabulous GayCo Artistic Associate Chris Kervick)

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