Rachel Cawthorn admitted she was so nervous ahead of her kayak final yesterday that she was sick.
The 23-year-old British athlete finished sixth in the women's K1 500m, behind Hungary's Danuta Kozak, who claimed gold.
After winning her heat, Cawthorn had been in the hunt for a medal. But despite the unhappy ending, she said the experience of competing in her first Olympics will stand her in good stead.
Cawthorn, from Guildford, Surrey, said: "I just wish I could have finished a bit further up. After what I did in the heat and semi, I knew I was better than I thought I was. With all the crowd here, it makes you want to win a medal even more, to experience it even more. I am a bit disappointed to finish where I did.
"I kind of get the whole Olympic cycle thing a bit more now that I have raced the finished product, and it makes me more aware going in to the next cycle why you train those four years."
Ukraine's Inna Osypenko-Radomska led for most of the race but the world champion could only take silver while South African Bridgitte Hartley won bronze.
Abi Edmonds and Louisa Sawers finished third in the B final of the women's kayak double 500m.