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Berlino the Bear - love him or loathe him?

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Tom Fordyce | 14:20 UK time, Friday, 21 August 2009

He's been the breakout star of these world championships, delighting audiences at the Olympiastadion with his high jinks and high energy celebrations. Yup, Berlino the Bear has made almost as big an impact as Usain Bolt.

The emails and Tweets have been arriving in their thousands, asking me to conduct the definitive sit-down interview with Berlino - his hopes and dreams, how he likes to kick back, whether there's a Mrs (or Mr) Berlino on the scene.

Sadly, since he's both (a) an eight feet tall bear, and (b) mute, this has proved impossible.

In its place, we've put together a little video package of Berlino's Best Bits. (Apologies to non-UK users - rights regulations prevent us spreading the message to foreign climes).

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Of course, it's not all been plain sailing for the big guy. At the start of the championships his enthusiastic attempts to join in with the men's 10,000m had traditionalists throwing their stopwatches down in disgust.

But Berlino is nothing if not a battler. This is a bear who doesn't know the word defeat. To be fair he doesn't know any words (see the earlier mute revelation) but you get my drift.

First it was a (bear) hug with pole vault champion Anna Rogowska. Next up came a little dance-and-drop with javelin gold medallist Steffi Nerius. By the time he was hoisted onto the broad back of discus champ Robert Harting, his cult status was no longer in doubt.

Later there came the poses with Usain - who had sported a t-shirt with the words "Ich bin ein Berlino" scrawled on it in biro - followed by a 50m race down the back straight in the aftermath of Bolt's 200m demolition.

None of it, however, can compare with the piggyback ride he gave new 400m hurdles champion Melaine Walker. Berlino - there's a hurdle in the way. Berlino - you're getting mighty close to.... ooops.

Truly, we shall not see his like again.

Not until the next major sporting event, anyway.


  • Comment number 1.

    He is fantastic. I love him and I think whoever is inside that costume should be interviewed (can we get Phil Jones on to this please....). The person inside should also given the job of being inside the costume of the London 2012 games mascot when that is announced.

    I want to buy a fluffy mascot to keep as a souvenir but I notice they are all sold out at the official shop on the official website? I wonder why? Everybody wants one now...

    Any chance one of the BBC team can get hold of one for me????

  • Comment number 2.

    Berlino has done what mascots should have been doing for years at athletics events and I concur with Benelucky that he should definately be given the job in 2012.

    His antics with Bolt were almost as impressive as the race that preceeded them and his clowning around with Melaine Walker had me in stitches, particularly when, after her fall, he tried to high five Walker but she just left him hanging. Brilliant stuff.

  • Comment number 3.

    As an athletics and particularly Olympic purist, I hope this is one gimmick which dies a very swift death. The thought of some clown in an animal suit parading around the stadium in 2012 fills me with dread.

  • Comment number 4.

    Would Melanie Walker have been so happy had she been injured when the mascot crashed into the cart?

  • Comment number 5.

    Did anyone else nearly wet themselves when he ran into the hurdles??

    Just me then...!

    Personally, he should have asked Kozmus to have a go of the men's hammer. That would have been fantastic!

  • Comment number 6.

    We already have such a man for the job in 2012 .... Boris!!

  • Comment number 7.

    I definitely love Berlino!

    He is so funny, when he run along side the 10,000m runners was brilliant.

    He has brought many smiles to my face and is competing with Mr. Bolt for star of these championships. I would love to have him in 2012 and infact ever major athletics event.

  • Comment number 8.

    this is so funny

  • Comment number 9.

    The mascot is absolutely fantastic!

  • Comment number 10.

    I think everyone loves the Mascot except for those with no sense of humour. After seeing Berlino trust me rt2963, those organising 2012 are thinking up what their mascot should be. I am sure the Jamaican who will win at least 7 golds will think up great ways to celebrate with Him/her. Speaking as a Jamaican Melanie Walker did not get injured so there is no speak of that. Jamaicans have shown that we are not about what could have happened but what happened.

  • Comment number 11.

    I love him, he is the very spirit of sportsmansip in the world, going up to congratulate every winner. good on berlino

  • Comment number 12.

    If this article had been written earlier I would be pushing for Berlino to take the troublesome England no.3 spot for the fifth test...

  • Comment number 13.

    Berlino is hilarious.

    For those who disagree, please lighten up.

  • Comment number 14.

    I agree with the majority of people commenting on here so far. This championships as a whole seems to be a little more light hearted than previous competitions, with a lot of athletes "doing a Usain" and playing to the cameras before races. The crowd have also been fantastic, and have gotten behind every event. Berlino the bear encapsulates all of this. Excellent championships and excellent mascot.

  • Comment number 15.

    I have it on good authority that that's Marion Jones in the bear costume.Paying back those appearance fees has not being easy to say the least!

  • Comment number 16.

    HMMMM I thought sport was all about fun. Whoever is inside the Mascot's suit or whoever had the idea for the antics should get a medal themselves it has been brilliant to watch.

    Unfortunately, the Olympic organisers will be full of stuffed shirts like rt2963 doing things the British way, well the British is proving itself to be pretty rubbish, get Berlino here for a couple of weeks in 2012 or show we can do it better.

  • Comment number 17.

    Absolutely love him. He makes the Worlds tolerable - and injects much-needed homeliness amidst the ruthless competition. And the piggy-back - priceless!

  • Comment number 18.

    Berlino doing the pose with Bolt was priceless.
    Haven't seen the 10,000m so can't comment!

  • Comment number 19.

    Love him! He's brought so much joy to an already fantastic Championship. Berlino for European President!

  • Comment number 20.

    rt2963...purist that you are, you would have told a 6ft 5in Jamaican guy that he is better suited for something other than the 100m, because tall guys don't do the short sprint well, according to purists. Well. Look at that eh. Sometimes purists are nothing but killjoys. It's sport, sir/madam, not neurosurgery. I mean, c'mon...relax. Have a drink, and remember that the athletes are having a blast and so are the fans in the stadium and in the armchairs. That's what it's all about, isn't it??

  • Comment number 21.

    Berlino is adding to the spectators' enjoyment. May he/she continue. I cannot think of any way the mascot has taken something FROM these games.

    Quote "Would Melanie Walker have been so happy had she been injured when the mascot crashed into the cart?"

    Answer is she would not have been happy. But who made her get on Berlino's back? She did.

  • Comment number 22.

    He's been great value after the races, it's nice to see the athletes have a character to celebrate with straight after the race and express themselves, some priceless moments, especially with the German guy and then the hurdles.

    He should stay out of the way during the events though, it's unfair on the guys running. You wouldn't want to see him running alongside Phillips Idowu and trying to triple jump at the same time would you...

    Still, good stuff, hope Phil gets an interview with him!

  • Comment number 23.

    the best bit was when he ran in the 10,000 metres and the jordie commentator was complaining and saying it was a discrase. what a miserable man.

  • Comment number 24.

    Berlino rocks !! Though I think he should 'quit while he [and it is surely a he..] is ahead' - we don't want a 'tears before bedtime' scenario..

    And what is this about not getting an interview, Fordyce ? Professional, committed journalists like Marina Hyde would have managed this...

    You know what you have to do..

  • Comment number 25.

    Berlino is important , he help the atmosphere to be less stressante with some more joy.

  • Comment number 26.

    who needs Berlino when you have Vicky Pollard?

  • Comment number 27.

    If you look on the official website, there is a personal notebook. This too is pure class. Hobbies: ..romping around, having fun and having a laugh. Weaknesses: My friends say that I am a bit clumsy. Successes: I have never really been successful but I always give my best.

    I saw the posing with Bolt after the 200m and was in stitches. All I need know is for some kind-hearted BBC employee (Tom, you know who I am talking about to "accidentally" upload this video onto the "well known video sharing website" that is often referred to in these blogs........

  • Comment number 28.

    Berlino is Awesome

  • Comment number 29.

    I LOVE the mascot! He's so cool! I cant get enough of him and his antics! Would they let me keep him?

  • Comment number 30.

    I love Berlino the Bear, everything has become far too serious these days lets bring a bit of fun back in sport.

  • Comment number 31.

    i hate the bear - worst thing to happen to athletics since ben jonson

    my 20 month old daughter loves the bear - best thing ever!

  • Comment number 32.

    He is the best mascot at a major sporting event in the last 30 years. Fantastic.

  • Comment number 33.

    I think German sports have great mascots, look at the Bundesliga teams. However, Berlino has been SUPERB! My everlasting memory of him was being carried by Harding, the discus winner in euphoria of winning the gold infront of his home crowd, needing one final throw, and it needed to be a PB. These whole championships have been fun, and Berlino has certainly played a a part.

  • Comment number 34.

    thank god your daughter didn't inherit your sense of humour :-)

  • Comment number 35.

    Genius! I always knew bears could run fast but I never expected to see that surge with 2 laps to go in the 10,000!!

  • Comment number 36.

    I´m sure Berlino wants the Summer Olympics to in Berlin at 2020 or so. I´ve heard that for several times.
    So he won´t attend the London 2012 Summer Games.

  • Comment number 37.

    A revelation and a great addition to the best Worlds I've ever seen.

  • Comment number 38.

    Berlino proves what many of us have known for years, the Germans have a really great sense of humour.

    Too many comments on here prove that the British don't, .... unless they're the ones making the joke, of course !

  • Comment number 39.

    YES!!! Berlino Bear the funniest thing I have seen in years more power to him we will be talking about him long after the athletics are finished. As for the Uber-Bores who think this sort of thing should not be allowed and what if the athlete was injured when Berlino fell over it's people like those who are slowly ruining the world by being old and boring and who want to ban EVERYTHING! but these people tend to be in positions of influence and so can make their opinions count and slowly but surely they will sterilise and stagnate everything they touch. I bet there will be no funny mascot running around the track in London 2012 .....ICH BIN EIN BERLINO .....HAVE A LAUGH PLEASE !

  • Comment number 40.

    Berlino Should be given a big kid on gold medal how funny would that be ..

  • Comment number 41.

    Berlino is cool!!!!

    I agree that he is doing what all mascots should be at major events!!!!

    Its refreshing to see something different and lighthearted like this and whilst some people will no doubt hate it (nothing wrong with that also, as everyone has the right to voice their opinion), I also feel that 90% plus love Berlino!!!

    It is a real shame that he is only likely to appear on the Berlin world athletics stage - he should be the official mascot for all future world athletics chapionships at least!!!

    Whilst some may state that he goes over the top, his antics have no doubt encouraged small children to watch these events - which could encourage interest in athletics for young children. He has also been a lot of fun for us adults too!

    I will definately miss Berlino once the athletics is over!

  • Comment number 42.

    I love Berlino

  • Comment number 43.

    I love the natural exhuberance and innocence he is bringing the championship. And the way his fun spirit infect children of all ages. The parallel Lightning pose must be the image of the championships.

    A what of the future? Just imagine. "Berlino Enterprises!" Massive corporate sponsorship, huge advertising endorsements, record amounts to secure broadcasting rights, A glittering future of the sport ;-)

  • Comment number 44.

    Berlino is brilliant, he's adding a whole additional level of entertainment, it's great for the kids watching and the athletes clearly love interacting with him.

    The only person who seems to have a problem is the commentator, I believe it's Steve Cram, who's beginning to come across as a bit of an old moaner.

  • Comment number 45.

    Absolutely hilarious! Rumour has it that he is a Jamaican!

  • Comment number 46.

    Many of the athletes seem to like Berlino - one Mr Bolt for starters. Yes it's the athletics world championships, I know, but it is sport and a celebration of the world's finest. If the mascot was detracting from the action then I suppose there might be some grounds for complaint, but it isn't. I've loved the athletic performances, which have been admirable, and enjoyed immensely the involvement of Berlino in the celebrations. He/she is very funny and, as others have said, at long last doing what a sporting mascot should do.
    A massive "bravissimo" to whoever thought it was a good idea!

  • Comment number 47.

    His antics are pleasing, and even in the Caribbean we have been saying that he has made a great difference in the games. A new star is born. Had me in stitches.

  • Comment number 48.

    Your right "number1981", a new star is born. Usain Bolt wasn't the only one I was looking out for when I was watching these world Championships. Berlino the bear only added to the jubilation and celebration of the record breaking moments. I've watched the 'Berlino Sprint' clip numerous times and still find it funny. This mascot has certainly brought to life an element in athletics that has been lacking for sometime. The laughter.

  • Comment number 49.

    Rt2963, for some of us viewers, who love the athletics more than you know apart from Usain Bolt, The Mascot has been one of the most interesting happenings @ the berlin meet! If you hate it so much, may be you wouldn't even want some of us to see you - in your pursuits for athletic glories?

  • Comment number 50.

    Anything that sends Brendan Foster apoplectic is alright by me...

  • Comment number 51.

    I am a runner, love athletics and I love Berlino. I think he is so funny, cute, makes me laugh so much. I like the way he messes about, he is just fantastic. I really hope we have a mascot as cute in London, in fact I would love to be Londino the mascot in London 2012.

  • Comment number 52.

    Berlinos great his antics have been brilliant for the championships. Shame some commentators dont seem to think so, all the athletes love berlino i bet.

  • Comment number 53.

    as always there are a few people's opinions to the contrary, but the whole 'fun' atmosphere has been really refreshing to see. the athletes are interacting more with the crowd (maybe a consequence of Bolt?) and a personal highlight was Friedreich (sp?) the German high jumper making the whole stadium go silent before clearing a third attempt and sending them wild again.

    major congrats to the organisers and the German public et al for adding to the incredible talent on show at these world champs. this should be a reference for all future major sporting events!

    and a small note for saying well done to the bbc for good coverage, punditry and blogs, many thanks!

  • Comment number 54.

    These have been great World Championships, gender questioning, Isinbayeva bursting into tears as she's giving an interview, Bolt smashing records, Berlino the Bear and now some athletes have been arrested for disturbing the peace!

  • Comment number 55.

    He's Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!

  • Comment number 56.

    Brilliant. Thank you BBC for doing exactly what I asked in the opening post. The feature at the start of the programme was superb and thanks to all involved for their humour when meeting him in the studio.

  • Comment number 57.

    @rt2963, would you like some humbug with your humble pie? :-) I think Berlino has been a great mascot, he's got the crowd and the athletes going, really lightened the mood and made the event what it should be - a fun celebration. Berlino in 2012!!

  • Comment number 58.

    I was in tears of laughter when he dropped the jamaican athlete but what was even funnier she waited for him to pick her up! which shows how the athletes had taken Berlino to their hearts!

    The pic of Berlino and Usain Bolt in that pose was probably the defining moment of the championships and is now my screensaver . I think Berlino's raised the status of mascots to another level, I love that bear and whoever is underneath it should be given a medal as they were brilliant. trust me you have to be an athlete to wear that costume and move around like they did. I am hoping that we employ whoever was underneath it for 2012. I wanted to buy a bear but i heard they are sold out! I want the BBC to interview the bear so get out there and find who they are.

    If i was Berlino I'd allow them to use it for charity events school visits as it could be used as a great sports motivator for kids.

    I think we need to start a campaig bring Berlino to the 2012 games.

  • Comment number 59.

    Ich bin ein Berlino!! Haha, he (or she! never know at these games) really did everything a mascot should. I expect a lot of other mascots to up their game and to be re-enthused by his antics.

    I think he was the pinnacle of what was a great games hosted by Berlin, the German crowd was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable in equal doses.

    Berlino, also abused his position to have quite a few lingering hugs with the female athletes after events... ha, brilliant. I'm glad i wasn't the only one to pick up on this legendary performance.

  • Comment number 60.

    After Misha the Bear that reach commercial success after the Moscow Olympic, I think Berlino is on the same winning streak.
    That "Eich Bin berlino" T-shirt will be a must have in Puma stores! :))

  • Comment number 61.

    Don't want to break the magic but Berlino is the creation of two partner companies of the Rhineland, MMP from Cologne and Artimage from Leverkussen. They are event organisers and planners. They were also behind the not-so-loved Goleo in 2006. I assume the London Olympics organising committee already took note with the Berlin organisers about how to get these people.

    Three people everyday were in charge to give life to Berlino.

    Berlino was just awesome!

  • Comment number 62.

    As an avid supporter of athletics all my life I can honestly say that this has been the most enjoyable world championships I've seen thanks to Berlino (and a few other performances). Athletics needed an injection of fun and as such has won a legion of new young fans (I have just heard of three children going along this week to their local athletics club for the first time, all because of Berlino). Power to the bear !!!

  • Comment number 63.

    I'd love Berlino to be at London 2012. Maybe as a friend and guest of the London mascot during the opening ceremony?

    Or he could carry the flag for the German team, heee.

    I don't think we've seen the last of the fuzzy guy. Watch out for cartoons, plush toys, etc.

  • Comment number 64.

    I see that they gave Berlino a medal well done!

  • Comment number 65.

    I think Berlino is the best mascot I've ever seen at a major event! I now wonder what the 2012 Olympic mascot is going to do? Seeing as it's a set of squiggly lines drawn by a three year old!

  • Comment number 66.

    Records being broken were class acts and so was Berlino without a doubt. He added something extra to the meet, which was appreciated by most spectators and athletes.

  • Comment number 67.

    This has been the best World Athletics Championships ever with great champions like Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis and Philips Idowu amongst others. But for me the star of the show has been Berlino the Bear. His antics have been absolutely hilarious-he has brought fun and laughter during difficult times. Please can he be part of the 2012 Olympics (and where can I buy a Berlino).


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