The Mass Start (15 km Men, 12.5 km Women) was added to the Olympic program in Torino 2006. The top 30 biathletes in the world all start at the same time.
At the Olympic Winter Games, these 30 athletes are:
the top 15 from the current World Cup Total Score plus any medal winners that are not among the top 15 in the World Cup Total Score.
the remaining competitors in rank order from the points they have earned in the Individual, Sprint and Pursuit competitions at the OWG. The points are distributed using the same system as for the World Cup. Single Best Result, Total Score Ranking and Qualifying Points are tie-breakers, if necessary.
Competitors ski five loops (5 x 3 km for men: 5 x 2.5 km for women) with shooting stages in the same order as the pursuit: prone, prone, standing, standing. Athletes ski a 150-meter penalty loop for each missed target before starting on the next loop. Tactics abound with quick, accurate shooting being essential. The first across the finish is the winner.