He reached the final of the 1500m at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, finishing in 6th place. He was the only British male at those Games to reach an individual athletics final on the track. He was a semi-finalist at the 2005 IAAF World Championships but missed the most of the 2006 and 2007 seasons because of a knee injury. As a result, in November 2007 he had his lottery funding removed, making it much harder for him to return to top rank competition. He had to rely on financial support from two Portsmouth companies. East called the decision by UK Athletics "crazy" and "shortsighted." He returned to compete at the 2008 IAAF World Indoor Championships but was not selected for the squad for the 2008 Summer Olympics as he could finish only 8th in the trials held in July. He announced his retirement on 8 September 2008.