Blake Gaudry only had to stay on the trampoline and an Olympic final berth was his, but with three jumps remaining, his London Games came to an end.
Gaudry missed the trampoline final after finishing 13th in qualifying, China's Dong Dong adding a gold to the bronze he won in Beijing with a score of 62.990 in the final.
Russia's Dmitry Ushakov (61.769) took silver while China's reigning Olympic and world champion Lu Chunlong (61.319) came in third.
Ninth after his compulsory routine, Gaudry looked well-placed to move into the eight man final when several competitors fell on their second routine, but the Australian couldn't hold it together as he came off the trampoline while executing his seventh of ten skills.
"All I had to do was just keep the second one on the bed and I would have made a final and got a personal best, but unfortunately it didn't come together today," said Gaudry, who had always intimated his true goal was a medal at the 2016 Games.
"I had a bit of a high after the first routine, I had a personal best.
"I was a little bit worried about the first one actually and then I got through and nailed it, I was so happy."
Gaudry could feel a finals spot slipping away long before he landed face down on the mat, with two of his previous landings coming right on the edge of the trampoline.
"Around the fourth skill I got a little bit uncomfortable and I tried to push through it ... I tried to fix too much at once and overdid it," Gaudry said.
"I didn't start on a good bounce - I guess it was my bad, I should have probably stopped and started again, taken a breather.
"I wanted to get the routine over and done with, I was excited."
Gaudry was thrilled with his first-up score of 49.260, his degree of difficulty score of four an Olympic record for a compulsory routine.