Klas Lestander, first Olympic biathlon champion, dies at 91

Biathlon
Biathlon

Swede Klas Lestander, who won the first Olympic biathlon event in 1960, died last week at age 91, according to Sweden’s biathlon federation.

Lestander died peacefully in his sleep, according to Aftonbladet.

Lestander won the lone event, a 20km race, when biathlon made its Olympic debut at the 1960 Winter Games. He was the 15th-fastest skier of the 30 entrants, but he won because he became the first biathlete to hit all 20 targets in any international championship, according to Olympedia.org.

He retired after placing ninth in the individual event at the 1961 World Championships in Sweden, according to Olympedia.

Biathlon came natural to Lestander, a junior cross-country skier who enjoyed hunting.

A military ski patrol team event, similar to biathlon, was held at the first Winter Olympics in 1924 and was a demonstration sport in 1928, 1936 and 1948, then removed from the Games after World War II because of post-war sensitivities.

Klas Lestander, first Olympic biathlon champion, dies at 91 originally appeared on NBCSports.com