Despite the lack of international success in biathlon, the sport has a long history in the Swiss Confederation. Biathlon, which combines the long-distance endurance of Nordic skiing and the precision marksmanship of rifle shooting, would seem a perfect match for the Swiss. In the 2010s, the Gasparin sisters (Elisa, Aita and Selina), along with Benjamin Weger, have helped Switzerland start to realize its potential as a player in the world of biathlon. But in the early years of the sport, the Swiss were not at the top of the list for strong biathlon nations. The reasons for this lack of success are puzzling. In the 1950s and 1960s, the international biathlon competitions were dominated by those with military backgrounds. Switzerland had all the elements available for a nation who would succeed in biathlon. These included a mandatory military requirement for Swiss men, abundant snowfall, a tradition of Nordic skiing, and a culture of rifle shooting. With all elements of a strong biathlon nation present, the manner in which Switzerland did not become an important player in the world of biathlon raises further questions about its history in the country.
"Where are the Sons of Tell? A Brief History of the Formative Years of Swiss Biathlon, 1957-1964,"
Swiss American Historical Society Review: Vol. 56
, Article 3.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/sahs_review/vol56/iss3/3