Switzerland will be proud hosts of the 22nd edition of the European Athletics Championships when the best athletes from across Europe descend on Zurich between 12 and 17 August, 2014. It has been a long wait for them to get the event, as it is sixty years since Bern was the venue. The Swiss enjoy their athletics though and will be eager to put on a great show as evidenced by the 'Weltklasse' (meaning 'World Class') IAAF Diamond League event they hold each year, which generally attracts some of the best competitors across the planet and is recognised as perhaps the most high class event on the athletics' calendar outside of major Games.

They have not been short of volunteers to assist with the smooth running during the championships as 2100 people will be on hand in and around the venues. Also, expect to see the official mascot of the Games, "Cooly" ('cool cow') much in evidence during the six days of action, to bring a lighter side to proceedings! 

Over 1400 competitors from 50 countries are expected to compete in 47 disciplines, supported by around 700 officials from their nations. Broadly the events will be the same for both men and women, but there will be two race walks for the men (20km and 50km) and only one for the women (20km). Heights and weights apart, the only other differences between men and women's events will be in the sprint hurdles (the men run 110m compared to 100m for the women) and the multi events (the men complete ten events compared to the women's seven).

The famous Letzigrund Stadium will be where most of the events are held, with the marathon and race walking events being staged in Zurich's city centre, affording the Swiss general public their opportunity to be involved in the action as well. The championships have a very high profile in Switzerland, as some are viewing them as perhaps the biggest event in overall magnitude they have ever hosted.

With an expected worldwide TV audience of 370 million tuning in to watch the action and 2000 media representatives expected on site, few would argue with that assessment !    

No event would be complete without an opening ceremony, but refreshingly the action will start before this is held at the end of the first day of competition in the stadium on August 12.

Entertainment is expected to be provided by DJ BoBo, Sunrise Avenue, a tightrope artist called Freddy Nock and of course mascot Cooly will have a big part to play. Expect fun, surprises and a feast of top class athletics action from World Champions, Olympic Champions, World Record holders and defending champions as Zurich takes its bow.