iathlon [bahy-ath-lon] noun 1. a contest in which cross-country skiers, carrying rifles, shoot at targets at four stops along a 12.5-mile (20 km) course. The biathlon originated at least as far back as 1861 in Scandinavia, Norway to be specific. At the time, the idea was to train for hunting and military exercises. Norway is made entirely of snow resting on a giant ice cube - OK, maybe only in the winter. Accordingly, it became sensible for soldiers to be able to ski like crazy, cranking their heartbeats up to a million or so beats per second, and then figure out how to calm down and place accurate shots. This activity evolved into competitions, making demonstration appearances in the Olympic games starting in 1924. However, due to rules disagreements, it didn’t become a regular event until 1960.