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EVENT OF THE DAY

BIATHLON

Most Americans would not know biathlon if it fell on their heads, but they certainly can appreciate biathlete Duncan Douglas' summary of the sport in which skiing and shooting are combined: "It's a sport where a 45-year-old guy who's 30 lbs. overweight can beat a 25-year-old kid in great shape. That's what makes it fun."

The shooting range

When a bullet hits one of the five black steel targets, a white disk flips up to cover it. Shooting distance: 164 feet.

Standing position: The swayed-back shooter's slouch allows the biathlete to rest one elbow against the chest for added stability and a more accurate aim.

Each miss adds a minute to a racer's time in the 20km and 15km events. In relays, 10km and 7.5km events, a penalty loop is skied.

Prone position: The biathlete gains optimum accuracy by steadying the rifle with a "Tripod." The elbows and torso provide the three stationary points.

The rifle

By regulation, a .22-caliber, manual loading and unloading rifle with standard sights weighing no less than 3.5 kilos (about 7.7 pounds).

The course

Lillehammer has a downhill into the range, so in that respect it is easier than Albertville (1992). France had a large, hard hill. Calgary (1988) has a little short hill before the range, then a downhill and a swoop.

THE RATINGS

Night 13: CBS drew a 23.1 rating and 34 share, up 50 percent from the second Thursday during the 1992 Albertville Games. With Wednesday's boffo box office from women's figure skating competition, CBS' 13-night average was 27.1 and 34.

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