It didn't hurt that Jessica Ennis, Britain's star heptathlete, was competing - and succeeding. Ennis finished the first day of the heptathlon in first place.
"Having this huge crowd behind everybody made a huge difference," Ennis said. "I know it sounds really cheesy, but running round the bend, you really hear the crowd and it just lifts you."
"I've literally never heard anything like it," British long jumper Greg Rutherford said. "It was brilliant. The screams just hit you."
Attendance at events - or lack of same - had been a story through the first week of competition. Sebastian Coe, the face of the London Organizing Committee, was forced to explain away empty seats in many venues. He blamed it on corporate sponsors and other VIPs choosing to skip early preliminary events.
But there were groups of 15 to 20 soldiers clumped throughout the O2 Arena for high-profile gymnastics, tennis, and swimming events. Maybe, after turning out in big numbers for cycling road races, it turns out the locals had saved their money for track and field tickets.
Most of Friday's schedule was given over to preliminary events, such as the women's 100 meters and men's long jump and 1,500 meters.
Americans Carmelita Jeter, Tianna Madison, and Allyson Felix advanced to Saturday's semifinals in the 100. In the 1,500, Leo Manzano, Andrew Wheating, and Matt Centrowitz advanced. Marquise Goodman and Will Claye advanced in the long jump.
Even the Americans were feeling the crowd's support.
"It feels great to have a full stadium and have all that energy," Felix said. "It's great to finally be under way."
"I was amazed how crowded it was and how quiet it got when the announcer started to speak," Madison said.
The evening crowd did see a couple of medal ceremonies.
Reese Hoffa of the United States took bronze in the shot put, his 69-foot, 8-inch throw finishing behind Poland's Tomasz Majewski (71-10) and German David Storl (71-83/4).
Ryan Whiting, who grew up in Harrisburg, was disappointed with his ninth-place finish.
"No offense to anyone, but some of those guys had no business beating me," Whiting said. "I just didn't have it tonight."
The last event of the night, the women's 10,000 meters, featured a dramatic finish. Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba put on a late burst to claim her second consecutive gold medal in 30 minutes, 20.75 seconds.
Contact Phil Sheridan at 215-854-2844 or email@example.com, or follow on Twitter @Sheridanscribe. Read his blog, "Philabuster," at www.philly.com/philabuster. Read his columns at www.philly.com/philsheridan