Kelly Sotherton failed in her bid to match last year's Olympic achievements despite a heroic effort in the 800metres to finish fifth in the heptathlon at the World Championships last night.
Sweden's Carolina Kluft defended her crown ahead of Eunice Barber following a thrilling conclusion to the championships, amassing 6,887 points ahead of the Frenchwoman's total of 6,824.
Sotherton had gone into the 800m with what proved to be an insurmountable obstacle after a disappointing performance in the long jump was followed by a very weak javelin competition.
She had to comprehensively beat the times offered by Ghana's Margaret Simpson and Olympic silver medallist Austra Skujyte if she had any hope of claiming the bronze medal to match her third place in Athens.
However, she gave everything and obliterated her personal best by more than two seconds after leading from the front to finish in two minutes 7.96 seconds to give her a total of 6,325.
But it was Simpson who took third with 6,375, one place ahead of Skujyte who had 6,360 as just 50 points separated third from fifth.
Sotherton gave her all in the 800, taking the race by the scruff of the neck and leading from the off with Barber going with her in a desperate bid to overhaul Kluft's marginal lead.
Kluft moved into third with 300m to go before going second down the final straight as the Swede produced a new personal best of 2:08.89 with Barber fourth in 2:11.94.
Sotherton's rivals for bronze, Simpson and Skujyte, finished in 2:17.02 and 2:17.48.
Sotherton felt her performance in the 800m had given her some comfort, but she pulled no punches about her overall display.
She said: "Obviously, I am disappointed I didn't come back with a medal, but the 800 kind of made up for it, which showed I am a competitor and I came back.
"I had to prove to myself that I can go all the way to the end. Apart from the 800m, I'm disappointed with six of the events.
"The javelin was abysmal. I can't throw away 200 points like that.
"After the javelin, I cried my eyes out, but my coach said to me 'you can do it - it is achievable. You have to believe in it and give it everything you have got'."
Sotherton had gone into the second day in the bronze medal position after her performances in the 200m, 100m hurdles and high jump offset a disappointing shot competition.
The 28-year-old would have been looking to put some distance between herself and her rivals in the first event, the long jump, prior to the javelin in which she was likely to struggle.
However, her best effort of 6.41m was some way short of her season's best of 6.67m, which she produced in Gotzis in May en route to setting a new personal best points total of 6,547.
It meant it was imperative the Birchfield Harrier produced a good javelin competition but her season's best of 37.21m was in stark contrast to the 40m-plus her rivals had thrown this year.
She threw a foul in the first round before throwing efforts of 30.84m and 33.09m. In contrast, Simpson produced a personal best of 56.36m while Skujyte's 48.82m was a season's best.