Posted on Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 at 3:58 pm and is filed under Archive | 0


German athletics authorities and fans are still trying to come to terms with the second invasion of an Olympic stadium by an imposter in the past 40 years.berlinoseated

Older track fans may recall the incident at the Munich Olympics 1972 when 22 year old student Norbert Sudhaus ran into the Olympic stadium pretending to be the leader in the marathon. His stout appearance alerted officials and he was escorted from the track, with real race leader Frank Shorter of the US entering the stadium on the way to victory, wondering why he was being jeered rather than cheered.

But that was as nothing compared to the disgraceful attempt to gatecrash the Berlino Show aka the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in the Olympic Stadium of the German capital last summer.

On the first night of his eight-day solo engagement in the Olympiastadion, Berlino was interrupted by a young man masquerading as a sprinter, and trying to steal the ursine star’s limelight. Never one to rebuff a young hopeful, the bear played along.

In an exclusive interview with Globerunner, Herr Berlino told us, ‘At first I thought it was Carl Lewis, ‘cause he’ll do anything he can to get his picture in the paper nowadays. But I quickly realised that this guy had hair and straight teeth’.

Berlino refuted counter-claims that he was on his way across the track, with the objective of trying to maim another young Jamaican female hurdler. “That’s nonsense,” said the bear. “In any case, she wasn’t a hurdler, she was a Walker.

Referring to the interloper, Berlino said affably, “Someone said the kid’s name was Usain Bolt. I looked him up later, and found that Bolt won the world junior 200 metres back in 2002, then disappeared. I knew it was a hoax, because someone said this kid had run 9.58sec and 19.19sec, and it’s clear that that’s impossible. That nice Michael Johnson told me no one was going to break his 200 metres record for 25 years, and I believe him”.


Asked to explain the archer’s pose, Berlino claimed that it is a nod to his favourite composer, Giachino Rossini, who wrote the William Tell Overture. This is all the more surprising, because the bear’s parents were killed by hunters years ago, and the three-month old cub was found wandering alone in the Black Forest, with nothing but wild gateaux to sustain him.

Things got worse when the bear was sold into captivity, coincidentally in Munich. But one day a kindly zoo-keeper read him a story in a newspaper, which mentioned the fact that the emblem on the coat of arms of Berlin is…… a Bear!

He immediately decided to escape, and laid a honey-trap for the keeper holding the keys to his cage. It worked, and when the bear pulled him out of the honey, and licked him down, the grateful keeper set him free.

He made his way to the capital city, where he was welcomed with open arms… and coats. Because it is colder in Berlin than Munich.

He was immediately signed up by an agent specialising in novelty acts, who foresaw an opening, since he suspected that the Tiger which he had found in the woods was going to get into big trouble.

Berlino became a huge hit in cabaret, originally performing under the name of Ursa Major, as befits a beast who is not only a star but a heavenly host.

When the organisers of the world champs revealed that no seats had been sold for any of the sessions last summer, the bear jumped at the chance to demonstrate his pulling power. He changed his name to Berlino, and the day was saved.

All eight days, in fact!

With the season of goodwill approaching, Berlino was in forgiving mood when we spoke earlier this week. “If that kid wants to get back in touch, tell him all is forgiven. I think he has talent. If he gives up that ‘bolt’ thing, I might even coach him.

“With me behind him, he could be a star”.

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