A world record pole vault for Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva and an electrifying 800 metres run by 18-year-old Kenyan Pamela Jelimo have lit up the Bird's Nest Stadium as the Olympic athletics programme accelerates.
The shock withdrawal of local favourite Liu Xiang from the 110 metres hurdles before his heat had silenced Chinese fans but they had plenty to lift their spirits later.
With the gold secured, Isinbayeva cleared 5.05 metres to beat her own mark of 5.04 and follow Usain Bolt in the 100 metres and Gulnara Galkina-Samitova in the women's steeplechase as world record breakers at the Games.
Brimin Kiprop Kipruto gave Kenya a seventh successive victory in the 3000 metres steeplechase and Jelimo streaked to the 800 metres title.
After a miserable time in the 100 metres the United States roared back when Angelo Taylor led a sweep in the men's 400 metres hurdles and Stephanie Brown Trafton took an unexpected women's discus gold - the USA's first win in that event in 76 years.
The 2004 champion Liu Xiang was under enormous pressure to deliver gold but he came in struggling with a long-standing Achilles injury.
The highlight of tonight's programme should be the men's 1500 metres final where the field includes New Zealand's Nick Willis, and Bolt continues his bid for a sprint double in the 200 metres semi-finals.