The mixed relay should be introduced to future Olympic biathlon competitions, the head of the sport’s ruling body IBU said on Wednesday.

IBU president Anders Besseberg told reporters during training for the Vancouver Olympics competition that the inclusion of this race for men and women would further add to the appeal of the sport twinning cross-country skiing and rifle shooting.

Biathlon has become very popular in Europe after undergoing radical changes with pursuit, sprint and mass start races. “There has been such a great development in biathlon over the years ... I think it has been crucial for the sport to introduce spectator-friendly competitions,” Besseberg said.

“I hope and think that also the mixed relay will be a competition at the Olympic Games in the future.” In the biathlon mixed relay, the first two starters of each team are women and the final two men. The event is part of the World Cup and world championships.

Alpine skiing and luge also have mixed events at this level, but no winter sport has one Olympic team/mixed event for men and women.

The introduction of a mixed relay requires approval by the International Olympic Committee.

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