HomeTag Biathlon auf Schalke

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Picture some 45,000 rambunctious fans, loud music blaring, a course comprised of 10,000 cubic feet of machine-made snow, a shooting range surrounded by bulletproof glass, 1,300 fir trees as decorations, and 10 biathlon teams representing their nations, all packed into a huge stadium with a retractable roof that’s home to soccer team Schalke 04 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. That’s the setting for the annual “Biathlon auf Schalke” two-person mixed relay show race, also known as the...

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A biathlon relay with athletes skiing around and through a huge soccer arena in a city with no snow seems like a crazy idea. But in the 1990s, the German cross-country skier and biathlete Herbert Fritzenwenger, who had retired from active sports after competing in the 1988 Calgary Olympic Games, believed there had to be some way to make biathlon even more attractive for viewers. He wanted to mix sports and entertainment bringing the sport...

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The Tour de Ski kicked off in miserable fashion in Saturday, with rain and minimal snow in Oberhof, Germany. But 3 1/2 hours away in Gelsenkirchen, there was a more fun solution. For the 12th time, fans packed a soccer stadium to watch World Cup athletes do a relay race around a small artificial course. For the first time since the inaugural race in 2002, an all-German team won.