The darkened arena pulsed with anticipation, the thousands of spectators roaring and their cameras flashing like giant fireflies as the boxers swaggered in, punching the air, bouncing on the balls of their feet and glaring like gladiators. And then, the chanting started for the favorite of this particular crowd:
"Katie!" "Katie!" "Katie!"
Despite the deafening cheers — officials at the ExCel Arena said it was one of loudest crowds of the Games so far at 113.7 decibels — you might also have heard a glass ceiling shattering: Boxing, the last Summer Olympics sport to be limited to men, opened its ranks to women for the first time here.