After two days and four rounds of qualifying, Bethesda native Julie Zetlin failed to advance to the final round of the rhythmic gymnastics portion of this summer's London Olympics.
Zetlin finished 21st in a field of 24 athletes after Friday's second day of competition; she moved up a spot after Thursday's rounds. The top 10 scorers advanced to Saturday's final.
Russia's Yevgenia Kanayeva leads the field heading into the final round.
Zetlin's appearance in London marked the first time an American rhythmic gymnast has qualified for the Olympics since 2004, second since 1996.
A former Walt Whitman High School student, Zetlin has been a member of the U.S. National Rhythmic Gymnastics Team since 2003, when she was 12 years old.
After not qualifying for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Zetlin nearly went into early retirement, saying 2009 would be her last season. But she said a remarkable performance at the 2009 World Championships in Japan reignited her love for the sport she's devoted her life to since she was 8.
Rhythmic gymnastics has been an Olympic sport since 1984, but goes fairly unnoticed in the United States.
"The frustrating thing is that people either don't know about it here at all or just don't respect it," Zetlin said before leaving for London. "You go to Worlds in France and there's an arena the size of the Verizon Center and it's sold out, a packed stadium. I'll go to the airport with my hoop and a security guard will be like, 'Oh, you're a hoola hooper?' And they'll just kind of laugh. I don't understand what's so funny, I just competed in the world championships."