Kate Howey indicated she would carry on competing in 2005 after Canada's Catherine Roberge ended her gold hopes in the 70kg judo event.
Howey was Britain's flag-bearer in Friday's opening ceremony
The 31-year-old crashed out at the second-round stage after Roberge overpowered her with a yuko.
She responded with a koka but could not find the winning move in time and the 1997 world champion confirmed her retirement soon after her Games exit.
"I thought I could take gold this time but it didn't happen," Howey said.
Howey won silver at Sydney in 2000 and bronze at Barcelona in 1992 in a career spanning four Olympics.
"I'm going to take a holiday now and decide what to do with the rest of my life," she said.
"It's too physical to do another Olympics but I will continue for another year maximum."
Japan's Masae Ueno won the Olympic crown by defeating the Netherlands' Edith Bosch in the final of the event.
Ueno gained victory with a stunning shoulder throw.