The countdown to the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships started in earnest on Saturday with just 500 days to go before the gun sounds to get the event underway.
Berlin 2018 - part of the inaugural multi-sport European Athletics Championships - will showcase the best the sport has to offer on the continent.
Approximately 1,500 athletes from European Athletics’ 51 Member Federations will compete, and many European, world and Olympic champions – past, present and future – will be there for six thrilling days of action from 7 to 12 August in the German capital’s famous and historic Olympiastadion.
Tickets recently went on sale for what will be the biggest sporting event in Germany next year, the 24th edition of the biennial showpiece for continental athletics, with the organisers anticipating an estimated 275,000 spectators will attend the championships.
Demand for seats will be high – especially for the evening sessions which will see most of the finals of the 47 disciplines to be contested – and sales already progressing well but tickets can be purchased here.
It will be the third time Germany has been the host nation for the European Athletics Championships, following on from Stuttgart and Munich staging the event in 1986 and 2002 respectively.
The championships will also take place almost exactly nine years to the day since Berlin staged the 2009 IAAF World Championships.
One of the stars of those championships was the local discus thrower Robert Harting.
The German giant won the first of his world titles there and he defended his crown in Daegu and Moscow in 2011 and 2013.
Harting also won gold medals at the 2012 and 214 European Athletics Championships.
The 32-year-old thrower announced in January that he will retire after the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships and there would be no more fitting place for him to bring the curtain down on his career than the Olympiastadion.
“The Olympiastadion is almost like a second living room to me so where else would I want to end my major championship career?
"I would like to leave Berlin 2018 with a positive experience, and I’m give it my all to be there again and do well. I still feel I can compete with the best,” said Harting recently.
The inaugural multi-sport European Championships 2018 involving seven of Europe’s leading sports will take place from Thursday 2 August to Sunday 12 August 2018, with 10 days of compelling television coverage starting Friday 3 August. Aquatics, cycling, gymnastics, golf, rowing and triathlon will be held in Scotland, with Berlin staging the European Athletics Championships.