Meet the mascots: Nelly and Nalle are the kindest bears in Eastern Finland


The mascots Nelly and Nalle are no strangers to many visitors because the bears have been around since the World Championships in Kontiolahti back in 1999 and have also attended all the World Cup events there ever since. They will get back to work in IBU World Championships Biathlon 2015, and the kindest bear couple in Eastern Finland will welcome all guests to the Kontiolahti stadium. They might even dance to the rhythm of the official World Championships song to celebrate their Crystal anniversary.

Nelly and Nalle, of course, love the town of KONTIOlahti. Not only does the town’s coat of arms have a bear in it but the word Kontio means bear in Finnish. The bear theme can be seen also in other contexts in the World Championships, for example in the nature-themed pictures taken by Valtteri Mulkahinen. Spotting various kinds of bears at the stadium will be easy. Nelly and Nalle’s furry relatives, real bears, are still hibernating in March so it is unlikely, if not impossible, to run into one of them in the trails.