The Biathlon World Championships are Spot On for Östersund

The city Östersund is a reliable supplier of world premieres and a winter city to rely on for biathlon athletes from all over the world. On the other hand, it is not only snow that counts in Östersund, the proximity to everything of importance is a crucial factor for both competitors and audiences for maximum enjoyment.

Skidskytte Biathlon
Biathlon Athlete Sebastian Samuelsson at the Östersund Stadion. Photo: Håkan Wike

Within Walking Distance

Just 15 minutes by car from the airport and a few minutes from the train station to the arena is unique in the biathlon world. The city center of Östersund is just a 15-minute walk from the Biathlon Arena. From there, a little uphill, you look out over both the city and surrounding nature. Östersund is a world-renowned city in the midst of the mountains.”In practical terms, Östersund’s commitment has been a very important part of the success where the municipality’s investments for many years have been crucial for what we have today,” says President OC (Operations Command) Patrik Jemteborn.

Tradition and Built Up Skills Around the Arena

The city’s investments and skills in snow storage, the development of the state of the art ski arena for winter and roller skiing tracks in summer have provided both skills and commitment to sport in Östersund. Add to this, four active associations within biathlon/xc skiing in the area and a military biathlon tradition on site. So yes, there is a good foundation for building multi competences around the arena.

Skidskytte Biathlon
Former athlete Helena Ekholm is now training athletes. Photo: Håkan Wike

The Arena Forms a Hub for Biathletes and XC Skiers

The football club ÖFK’s success despite – Östersund’s sport is traditionally biathlon. As early as 1970, a world championship was organized here and the overall number of active athletes is impressive. The cross-country skiing in Östersund is also built around the Östersund Arena, which is used and appreciated by the entire region’s skiers. The Swedish Biathlon Association and the organization around the Biathlon World Championships both have offices in this National arena for Biathlon, and this of course creates a natural center for the Swedish skiing industry. Year round.

Logistics in a city is another key to success

It’s very important that it’s close to everything, even for those who compete,” says former Biathlon Athlete Helena Ekholm who, after her career, settled down on the island Frösön in Östersund, worked as an economist for a few years, but then returned to the sport of Biathlon as a personal trainer.

Skidskytte Biathlon
Former Biathlon Athlete Helena Ekholm´s medals. Photo: Håkan Wike

An Attractive City to Visitors and Athletes

Helena Ekholm points out the so called “days for rest” in a week of competitions. That´s when competitors through the years truly appreciate Östersund having nature, the cosy city and all kinds of excursions within reach. Not even really focused athletes want to stay in their hotel rooms all week, Helena says.

The city square, Stortorget, in Östersund and the surrounding city, is a great advantage for Östersund when it comes to arranging the biathlon competitions in Östersund. The Winter Park at the shore of the frozen lake Storsjön is only a stone’s throw away from the Arena and this invites visitors to do more than just watch the comptetitions.

It must be easy and smooth to get around at the arena and there must be attractive activities around the competitions, to keep people want to come and watch more races. Östersund has these qualities,” says Helena Ekholm, who looks at the biathlon circus from another angle today when she is no longer an active athlete.

Skidskytte Biathlon
Former Biathlon Athlete Helena Ekholm at the main square in Östersund. Photo: Håkan Wike

A Great Reason For Throwing a Party

The arrangements around the competitions are becoming more and more important says Patrik Jemteborn, President OC of the Biathlon World Championships. The Championships are a good excuse for throwing a large party in the city. Food, activities and events in a well-thought-out packaging, seasoned with competitions. Just as much for the people living in Östersund as for visitors from all over the world.

The people in Östersund is perhaps a bit too used to having world cup competitions every year, but world championships are always something completely different – a city party that attracts much more than just the real biathlon-enthusiasts. The ones bitten by the bug will come no matter what. And the Olympic successes for Sweden in 2018 have helped roll out the red carpet for a successfull event in 2019.

Skidskytte Biathlon
Swedish Biathlon Athlete Sebastian Samuelsson getting ready to shoot. Photo: Håkan Wike

A Tough Race Arena With Smooth Logistics

One of the Olympic medalists is Sebastian Samuelsson who, like the other younger members of the national team, lives and works in Östersund. He highlights Östersund’s tough Arena as an advantage for Sweden.

There will be tough courses when you compete, and you become good at shooting when you train here thanks to the occasional strong winds,” he says laughing.

He likes the place just because it’s a city: having the racing arena here gives all skiers a great opportunity to work out and live within the city range – both summer and winter. He believes, however, that the logistics during the competitions is most important for the audience.

As an athlete, it’s best to go fast and shoot well, not what’s around the course – but a lot of course is about the mood you experience from that particular competition. Biathlon has become more of an arena sport in recent years and Östersund has every chance to create that right kind of atmosphere to make the athletes perform well at the World Championships.

Skidskytte Biathlon
Swedish Biathlon athlete Sebastian Samuelsson loading ammunition. Photo: Håkan Wike

Results of the 2019 Biathlon World Championships in Östersund

An enquiry among the visitors at the World Championships shows that the visitors truly enjoyed the event. Almost 114 000 people watched the events at the Arena and took part in the celebrations at the Medal Plaza by the city hall. Around 15% of the visitors came from abroad, and naturally most of the Swedish visitors where from the nearby Jämtland Härjedalen Region. A majority of the visitors where very pleased with the event as they enjoyed the atmosphere, the party, the exciting races and the welcoming personnel. On the most frequented days of the event there were some queues to the food stalls – but overall a very good impression of the biathlon events!


Number of days

11 days, 9 days of competitions, 12 competitions in total

66 Medalists

300 Racers

35 Nations

16,3 Km of prepared tracks

Estimated number of visitors

120.000 (3-4 visits per person)

650 Television hours

500 Million television viewers

600 Media representatives on site

900 Volunteers

Economic Value

Economically the Biathlon Competitions are estimated to have contributed with 600 million SEK from 1989 til today for the city of Östersund. After the World Championships this sum is estimated to 800 million SEK.

Media Value

The media value of the Biathlon Competitions in Östersund is estimated to 68 million SEK.

City Festival

A city festival will take place in Östersund during the World Championships. Key points for the festival is sustainability and participation.

Östersund 2019

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