Talk about your crowd pleasers.
In an opening session of Olympic track unlike any in recent memory, heptathlete Jessica Ennis and a handful of her British teammates gave fans at jam-packed Olympic Stadium a show worth the early wake-up call.
With nearly all 80,000 seats filled for the first taste of Olympic track and field Friday, Ennis wowed the home crowd by finishing the 100-meter hurdles in 12.54 seconds, the fastest time ever in the heptathlon's first event.
How fast? It matched Dawn Harper's gold-winning time in the 100-meter hurdle final at the Beijing Games - and would've been good enough to take that title at the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympics.
''Amazing. So loud. When you step up to jump or get in your blocks, they really get behind you. It's a great feeling,'' Ennis said. ''I felt strangely calm. I'm normally quite nervous before the hurdles. Just coming out in the stadium and seeing the crowd was such an amazing feeling. It kind of gives you goose bumps.''
Imagine what a treat it was for the home fans, who have been wringing their hands over every aspect of these games: the megamillion-pound costs, the security, the quality of the subway and train service and, of course, the quality of the athletes who would be representing the host country.
On this particular morning, everything worked out better than they could have hoped.
Fans rolled out of bed, poured into the javelin trains heading to Olympic Park, jammed the turnstiles at the stadium and were in place before Ennis left the warm-up area shortly before 10 a.m. They waved their Union Jacks and cheered every British athlete with roars often reserved for gold medalists.