Host City: Salt Lake City, United States
Date Started: February 11, 2002
Date Finished: February 11, 2002
Participants: 190 (102 men and 88 women) from 34 countries
Youngest Participant: Diana Rasimovičiūtė (17 years, 354 days)
Oldest Participant: Mike Dixon (39 years, 92 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): Ole Einar Bjørndalen (4 medals)
Most Medals (Country): Germany (9 medals)
The 2002 biathlon events were conducted in Soldier Hollow, a specially constructed Nordic ski center in Wasatch Mountain State Park, in Wasatch County, near Heber, Utah, just southeast of Salt Lake City. The program had a new event, the pursuit, added both for men (12.5 km) and women (10 km). Skiers started in the order of their finish in the sprint events, with the leader going off first, and the others starting later, depending on their time penalty from the sprint. Penalty laps were used for the shooting penalties so that the race placement was determined simply by how the biathletes crossed the finish line. To avoid congestion in the race, the pursuit section is limited to the top 60 finishers in the sprint, although in reality, many of the lower-ranked racers in the sprint will often choose not to start the pursuit. In Soldier Hollow, the pursuit had 57 men and 52 women start. The event had first been held at the World Championships in 1997.
The 2002 biathlon competition was dominated by one man – Norway’s Ole Einar Bjørndalen. He won gold medals in all four events, winning the three individual events, and leading Norway to a gold medal in the relay. He also placed fifth in the cross-country 30 km race.