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.”

Berlino joins Bonnie the Seal, who will be the mascot for co-hosts Glasgow 2018, who are organising six of the seven sport of the inaugural multi-sport European Championships.

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.

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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.