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A fairer ranking system for biathlon pursuit races


Biathlon is an Olympic sport combining crosscountry skiing with rifle shooting, giving a penalty for each target miss. The biathletes ran different race formats, including the pursuit race. During this race, the biathletes chase the leader with a start time identical to the result of the sprint race previously achieved. So, pursuit involves different skills (such as tactics or management of emotional pressure) that are not present during races with an interval-start procedure like sprint. Furthermore, shootings have a more important impact during pursuit races than during sprint ones. Nevertheless, final pursuit rankings are strongly correlated to sprint ones, which prevents a spectacular comeback after a disappointing sprint race. We present here a new pursuit ranking system that is nearly decorrelated to sprint rankings. This simple ranking system is based on comparisons with previous pursuit results. The current and the new rankings were then compared on a single pursuit ranking and different pursuit world cup rankings, using a database of 148 results from men pursuit world cups. The new ranking was shown to strongly modify a single pursuit ranking but these modifications were smoothed on a whole world cup season. Advantages and limitations of the new ranking system are discussed, paving the way to a fairer modification of the current pursuit ranking to increase surprise and suspense in biathlon pursuit races.
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Dates and versions

hal-03120424 , version 1 (25-01-2021)
hal-03120424 , version 2 (27-08-2021)
hal-03120424 , version 3 (22-06-2022)


  • HAL Id : hal-03120424 , version 1


Rémi Servien. A fairer ranking system for biathlon pursuit races. 2021. ⟨hal-03120424v1⟩
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