Kiwi paddler Luuka Jones has fallen short of her surprise podium performance five years ago, finishing sixth in the kayak slalom final at the Tokyo Olympics.
After clocking the third-fastest time through heats on Monday, Jones qualified for the final with fifth in the semis, but could not recapture the form that saw her win silver at Rio 2016.
Starting in the middle of the 10-woman field, Jones watched Spanish defending champion Maialen Chourraut lay down the gauntlet with 106.6s, before taking to the water two turns later.
She produced a faultless run, incurring no time penalties, but lagged half a second behind her rival at the first split and a full second back after the second.
Jones' final time of 110.67s had her momentarily in third, but with four more athletes to come, her chances of staying there already appeared slim.
In fact, Italian Stefanie Horn went almost six seconds faster with the very next run to knock the Kiwi off the dias, with German Ricarda Funk and Aussie Jessica Fox subsequently going even faster to seal her fate.
Funk eventually won gold with 105.50s, while hot favourite Fox could only salvage bronze, with the fastest run of the final - but with four penalty seconds added.
Jones returns to action on Wednesday, contesting the canoe slalom, using one blade instead of two.