BIATHLON HISTORY – The first Biathlon World Championships in Germany
1962 was the year in which biathlon took off in Germany and the German Ski Federation set up its first team. The first Biathlon-World Championships in Germany took place in 1966, in the Olympic Games hosting towns of Garmisch Partenkirchen and Kaltenbrunn and were a significant success which was reflected in the press. After this success in Garmisch, the German ski scene started to pay attention. As Michael Pössinger put it, the “ski-hunters” had finally become socially acceptable. They were no longer simply participants as at the 1960 Olympic Games in Squaw Valley. Most clubs were still holding back their support; the military origin of the discipline was too uncomfortable so soon after the war. In the following years, however, Fritz Wagnerberger, Josef Wengermayr and Hannes Kirchgessner managed to generate more support for the young sport in the German Ski Federation. Upon their initiative, the planning and approval process was initiated and driven along quickly for the Nordic training and support center by the Zirmberg in Ruhpolding. Construction began in 1976.
The success of these efforts did not take long to grow. Only a few years later, thanks to the support of the Bad Reichenhall Hunters at the biathlon facility Wildenmoos near Inzell and later the training center in Ruhpolding, a new era was introduced in sports on skis. Through the experienced leadership team including Peter Bayer, Jürgen Seifert and Norbert Baier, the German Ski Federation was able to groom the local up and coming talents within a few years. Thanks to Peter Angerer and Fritz Fischer along with other emerging junior athletes and due to the excellent training conditions, the first international victories were won and made Ruhpolding known around the world.