The wait had been 37 years but Prague welcomed back the European Athletics family tonight.
With lights, music and the dancing mascot of Little Mole, the opening ceremony of the 33rd European Athletics Indoor Championships celebrated the start of the major track and field event of the winter season.
Prague last staged a competition of this magnitude in 1978 with the outdoor European Athletics Championships and big crowds are expected at the 02 Arena over the next three days.
It is an emotional weekend for European Athletics President Hansjorg Wirz who steps down next month and in his address tonight he said: "Czech Republic has a fantastic tradition of producing great athletes.
Legendary names from the past like Olympic and world champions Emil Zatopek, Helena Fibingerova and Jan Zelezny spring quickly to mind.
These Championships will see the current generation of Czech stars in action and I am sure that with this history and location they will be inspired to try to emulate their predecessors and reach the top of the podium as well.
The competition has already begun with three qualification events - the men's and women's shot put and men's long jump - on Thursday afternoon before the opening ceremony.
And what a dramatic beginning it was.
In Gothenburg two years ago, Michel Torneus won long jump silver with a national record of 8.29m and he is looking good for a medal again after leading the way with 7.97m. But there was a big surprise with the exit of World No. 1 Kafetien Gomis, of France, who fouled on his first two efforts before reaching 7.65m with his last jump, which left him 14th.
David Storl, Germany's double European champion, soared into the shot put final with a brilliant 21.23m, the first time 21 metres has been reached in qualifying in the history of the championships - and he was not the only one achieving a landmark.
Poland's Konrad Bukowiecki is not 18 until later this month and he made the final with a European Athletics junior best performance of 20.46m, finishing fifth in qualifying where second place Stipe Zunic, of Croatia, with 20.67m, and Luxembourg's Bob Bertemes, with 20.56m, both broke national records and Ladislav Prasil, of the Czech Republic, gave the crowd much to cheer about with 20.50m.
In the women's shot, Hungary's Anita Marton finished top with 18.44m from the first round and after winning bronze at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich in August, she will feel she can make that step up to the top of the podium. Second behind her was Belarusian Yulia Leantsiuk with 18.33m.