It may not make headlines here in the states, but the biathlon is one of the most popular sports in Europe and commands prime time viewing.

Athletes in the individual event ski for 20 km in the men's and 15 km in the women's competition, stopping four times, going into either a prose position or standing to shoot and hit five small targets.

To win, it's a combination of endurance and marksmanship that separates the winners and losers.

Team USA biathlete Susan Dunklee compares the sport to running up and down the stairs 10 times really fast and then trying to thread a needle.

IDPA National Champion Jim Sanders remarked that for athletes competing at the top level the trigger on their rifle is the most important part of their equipment and can mean the difference between first and last.

So while you may not know or have heard of the biathlon what these competitors can do in grueling conditions with a rifle is no shot in the dark.