A splash at the finish line made for an Olympic highlight and a day that the U.S. team would rather forget.
With a last desperate stroke that rocked his kayak so hard he fell into the water, Frenchman Babak Amir Tahmasseb edged America's Rami Zur at the finish line and ended the U.S. team's best hope for a medal.
Zur's fourth-place finish in his 500-meter single kayak (K-1) race -- he needed a top three to advance -- was the most frustrating moment for the American team, which failed to get a boat in the finals.
The strongest racer on the team hadn't even come through the U.S. system. While born in California, Zur was raised in Israel, the country he represented at the Sydney Games.
He looked like a lock for the finals after barely losing his preliminary heat. And he was second halfway through his semifinal before being passed by German Lutz Altepost and Amir Tahmasseb at the finish.
Zur had one last chance to advance in the 500-meter pairs kayak (K-2), but he and partner Bartosz Wolski couldn't find the speed to stay with the top group. They finished more than a second behind third-place Italy, the final qualifier of that race.
"There's no point overanalyzing it and getting depressed," Zur said. "I'm very disappointed, but I've got to look forward and that's what I'm trying to do. Beijing is now my target."