The 18-year-old came 9th in a star-studded field of 12 that included defending Olympic Champion Shaun White.
“I just had so much fun out there riding with everyone. It was a really good experience.”
Callister’s first run didn’t quite go to plan when he fell on the landing of his fourth trick, scoring a lowly 40.00 points. Sitting in 10th, he had to pull out all stops on his second run if he was going be in with a chance at the podium – and he did, scoring 68.50.
Unfortunately for him seven of the eight riders to drop into the pipe after him also lifted, doing better in their second runs than their first.
The final result was a major upset, with Russian-born Swiss rider Iouri Podladtchikov scoring an unbeatable 94.75 to win Gold, ahead of Japanese teammates Ayumu Hirano with Silver (93.50) and Taku Hiraoka with Bronze (92.25).
A crash landing on the lip of the pipe in his first run and a wobbly 90.25 to recover in his second, wasn’t enough for Shaun White to claim his third consecutive Olympic Winter Games Gold medal.
"I was looking for four - I was hoping to do Slopestyle too, but it didn't pan out," said White.
"Tonight was just not my time."
18-year-old Callister took the long way to the medal round, via the semi-final. After failing to land the last trick in his first run, the Olympic debutant relied on a stylish second run to get the 79.50 points needed to be in the group of six to progress.
A gutsy semi-final performance by teammate Nathan Johnstone wasn’t quite enough to get him through, missing out on a spot in the final by just one place.
Earlier in the day, Australia’s best chance at a men’s Halfpipe medal, Scotty James, made a shock exit from the competition, when he didn’t make it through the heats.
Tough judging in his first run and an unfinished program in the second brought the 19-year-old’s time at the Sochi Games to a premature end.
James was the first rider of the session to drop into the pipe, scoring 68.50, in what was seemed like a tidy and skilled performance.
“I thought it would have made the nine. But I hate blaming it on the judges. At the end of the day, it’s me, that didn’t make it. I didn’t do enough to make it through,” James said.
On the next run he lost speed on the landing after his second air, slowing his approach to the next trick, which he was unable to complete. Missing out on the semi-final by one place brought his second Olympics to a grinding halt.
“It’s just a bit disappointing because a lot of work’s gone into it over the time. That’s the first time that’s happened to me in a while, not to even make it through to the semis, let alone the final. So I don’t know how to feel right now. I’m not happy, I’m not angry, I’m not sad, I’m kind of just very blunt, I’m just a bit shocked.”
A clearly devastated James admitted he’d been unwell all week; feeling sick in the stomach and experiencing back aches.
“My first run was first time I’d done some tricks in a while.”
James leaves Sochi, having come 16th in the Snowboard Slopestyle and 21st in the Halfpipe. The same Halfpipe result as he recorded four years ago at the Vancouver Olympics.
As for his teammate Callister, whose family was watching the event on television at home in the USA: “I’d just like to soak it all up and remember it for the rest of my life.”
And the plan for his very bright future: “To hopefully a lot of new tricks and some podium finishes.”
Emily Groves | sochi2014.olympics.com.au