Tonia Couch and Sarah Barrow failed to end Great Britain's half-century wait for a female Olympic diving medallist after a disappointing performance in the platform synchro.
The Plymouth-born duo, who have known each other since childhood, had entered the competition with hopes of a medal after they were crowned European champions in May.
They began strongly to be second after the opening two compulsory dives but then immediately missed their next inward three-and-a-half somersault to drop down to sixth. It left them with too much ground to make up as they had to be content with fifth place.
Chen Ruolin and Wang Hao were comfortable winners, to claim China's third gold medal in as many events at the diving pool so far, ahead of Mexico and Canada.
Couch and Barrow have enjoyed a record-breaking 12 months after finishing fourth at last year's World Championships in Shanghai.
They then ended Britain's 74-year wait for a female European champion in Eindhoven while also claiming bronze at the World Cup.
They continued that form through the opening two dives to be second, however, like their male counterparts Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield their medal hopes were dashed on one missed dive.
Barrow over-rotated on the third dive to draw scores as low as 5.5 and there was no way back for the pair who have known each other since joining the same gymnastics class in Plymouth 16 years ago.
Their disappointment also meant Britain could not celebrate a first female Olympic diving medallist since 1960.