Department or Program



The sport of biathlon, which encompasses a unique combination of cross-country skiing and target shooting is a sport with a past deeply rooted in military traditions. Originally used to test military capacity and fitness among elite mountain troops in the United States and Europe (most famously Finland and the Soviet Union after the Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939-1940), the sport has evolved into one of the most watched winter sports in Europe. In the process of this transformation, the sport has undergone what might be referred to as a “Post-Historical” transition, based on the framework introduced by Francis Fukuyama. This theory posits that the military model of biathlon that provided the basis for both athlete development and competition structure has been replaced by a civilian and elite athletics model to a significant enough extent that the military model has become essentially obsolete. This Post-Historical transition takes place on two fronts. First structurally, in how the sport is organized, participated in and governed and second, perceptually, in how the athletes view themselves in relation to the history of the sport and their place within and in contrast to it. In this thesis, I argue that biathlon has on both the structural and perceptual level, attempted to reinvent itself as separate from its history.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Melvin, Karen

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 PDF file

Open Access

Available to all.