Berlino, the official mascot of the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Champs is back! (August 7-12, 2018)

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European Athletics has been doing some very smart things for their member federations over the past three years, under their President Sven Arne Hansen. Building consensus, and looking for ways to innovate, Hansen has encouraged the member federations to look at ways to increase the interest and participation in the sport with the youngest fans.

Berlino is a case in point. The official mascot has been a favorite in past European Athletics Championships. The multi sport approach of the European Championships, held in Glasgow, Scotland and Berlin, Germany, is an innovative approach.

1284034_G08_W01 berlino the bear.jpgBerlino the bear, which the press release notes is the "biggest comeback since Abba!", photo: Camera 4: Berlin 2018

The European Championships will be the largest global athletic event in 2018. @runblogrun looks forward to covering it for our readers.

In what is being described as the most bearish comeback of the year, the loveable Berlino has been named official mascot of the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships from 7-12 August 2018.

Berlino first wowed audiences nine years ago at the Berlin 2009 World Championships. The fuzzy mascot was such a hit with spectators that he was brought back to entertain the masses at the Internationales Stadionfest (ISTAF) and ISTAF Indoor championships a few years later.

And now Berlin 2018, Berlino's biggest stage yet.

The bombshell announcement dropped during an interview between TV presenter Jessica Kastrop and Olympic discus champion Robert Harting. Berlino crawled out of a large box before falling into Harting's arms - a reunion nine years in the making.

"It's great that Berlino is back," Harting said. "We've been buddies since I won my World Championships title here in 2009."

In contrast to 2009, Berlino now sports a colourful outfit in keeping with the festival theme of the European Championships. During the event, Berlino will appear at both hotspots - the Berlin Olympic Stadium and the European Mile at Breitscheidplatz.

Berlino is not the only reason spirits are high among the Berlin 2018 team. The organisers are also buoyed by strong ticket sales. Three months before the event, 200,000 tickets have already been sold. For the evening session on Saturday 11 August, nearly 40,000 tickets have already been snapped up. All of this should translate into big, supportive crowds for the athletes as they compete for gold this August.

As the total capacity of the Berlin Olympic Stadium has been reduced to 55,000 seats due to the Live Mixed Zone, additional work spaces in the upper tier, and reserved seats for athletes and coaches, the public is encouraged to buy tickets as soon as possible or risk missing out.

As an appetizer for athletics enthusiasts, a "Day Q" has been organised for Monday, 6 August. Day Q will provide free entry and free choice of seats in certain blocks to anyone who wishes to follow the qualification rounds for hammer throw and long jump, as well as the first heats of the 100m and 400m hurdles. The free tickets are only available online and as e-tickets at www.berlin2018.info/tickets.

Berlin 2018 is part of the European Championships - a major new multisport event taking place every four years, supported by Europe's free-to-air broadcasters, which aggregates the existing senior continental championships of Athletics (European Athletics), Aquatics (LEN), Cycling (UEC), Gymnastics (UEG), Rowing (FISA), Triathlon (ETU), with a new Golf Team Championships (ET & LET) - all unified under a common brand.

The world-class sporting and cultural cities of Glasgow and Berlin will host the first edition of the Championships 2-12 August 2018, and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) already has agreements with almost 40 broadcasters worldwide to cover the event. There will be up to 300 hours of programming across television, radio and online, free to air in all the main markets, with an anticipated 2,700 hours of television coverage across the Championships.

The vision for the event is to create a must-watch, must-attend experience that elevates the Champions of Europe during an 11-day celebration of sport and packed 10-day broadcast schedule backed by free-to-air television through EBU.

European Mile and cooperation with the Berlin Zoo

The cultural and sports program European Mile will bring the action from the stadium directly into the city, culminating in a festival atmosphere at Breitscheidplatz in the west of the city. In addition to hosting the finish lines for the walking and marathon competitions, the square will stage the men's shot-put qualification and most victory ceremonies. The Berlin Zoo across the road will also play an important role as it will offer a warm-up zone for all walking and marathon competitions.

For seven days, a unique architectural landscape will be created in Berlin's City West, where European athletics can be experienced every single day. A striking 400m blue track will snake around the Breitscheidplatz so that visitors can also get active. The centrepiece is an arena for almost 3,000 spectators featuring a stage that will host the victory ceremonies in the evening for the first time in the history of continental championships. Since 1934, there has never been a victory ceremony held in the centre of a host city.

In addition to the sporting competitions and victory ceremonies, an attractive and diverse program with interactive athletics modules, music and shows await the visitors.

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