This was one place better than her ranking in a race where six athletes had previously run inside two minutes.
The 22-year-old Edinburgh woman will remember the crowd's reception "forever", but learning the lesson of pace-judgment will be worth more. The European silver medallist believed Kenya's defending champion Pamela Jelimo would go out in around 57 seconds, and she planned to hang back. Jelimo did not. It was 60.15 at the bell. Sharp was eight metres back and could make no impression.
Jelimo won in 1:59.42, but Caster Semenya, the 2009 World champion from South Africa, who was embroiled in gender controversy, was fastest qualifier with 1:57.67. Sharp left in tears, and did not spare herself.
"I ran rubbish in the first lap and found myself in a really bad position. It was five girls wide across the front, and I'd have had to have gone into lane four to get through," she said.
"I gave it my all down the home straight once I had some space, but I'll play that first lap over in my head a million times. It was going to be hard to make the final, but I've got more than 2.01 in me. I've got a huge PB in me, and I'm in great shape."
Lee McConnell, meanwhile, is keeping her fingers crossed she can make it third time lucky at these Games as she bids to bring the curtain down on her career in style this weekend. The 33-year-old was part of the British 4x400m relay team that finished fourth at Athens 2004 – which has now been upgraded to bronze – while she was forced to pull out of the quartet at Beijing 2008 with a torn muscle. "I am really happy to have competed in a third Games and in front of such a crowd it's what I've wanted since the Olympics was announced," said McConnell.