Lawrence Clarke hopes he can persuade veteran coach Malcolm Arnold to postpone his retirement once more and steer him to Olympic hurdles glory in Rio.
The 22-year-old needed a personal best of 13.31 seconds to reach 110m hurdles final as the eighth-fastest qualifier, but returned to the track two hours later to finish just outside the medals as Aries Merritt led an American one-two ahead of team-mate Jason Richardson.
"Malcolm Arnold took me from running 15.3 in 2008 to 13.3 in an Olympic final," said former European junior champion Clarke. He added: "It's the next Olympic Games we all want him to stay out of retirement for because he stayed out retirement for me here and I can't thank him enough."
Merritt's time of 12.92secs was just 0.01s outside the Olympic record set by Liu Xiang in Athens in 2004, with Richardson clocking 13.04 and Jamaica's Hansle Parchment claiming a surprise bronze in a national record of 13.12.
Clarke was fourth in 13.39s as defending champion and world record holder Dayron Robles pulled up midway through the race with an apparent hamstring injury.
He said: "He's been almost a father figure. Malcolm was sitting with my family this evening and I'm sure he's sitting there thinking what a poor athlete I was when I arrived."
Clarke, whose full name is Charles Lawrence Somerset Clarke, revealed several of his family were in the Olympic Stadium after gambling on him making the semi-finals.
"They all managed to get tickets in the ballot," he added. "They took a big gamble buying tickets for the semi and final because I told them I probably wouldn't make it.
"That wasn't self doubt, that was looking at the ranking list. Coming here I was 20th in the world."