PYEONGCHANG, South Korea -- Two-time U.S. national champion Nathan Chen set a new standard for men's Olympic figure skating, but in the end it wasn't good enough for a medal.
Chen wound up fifth overall in the men's event on Saturday despite a stellar performance in the free skate portion of the competition, in which he landed six quadruple jumps in the 4-minute, 30-second program.
Chen finished behind Japanese duo Yuzuru Hanyu, who repeated as gold medalist in men's figure skating, and Shoma Uno, who took silver. Spain's Javier Fernandez won the bronze. Chinese skater Jin Boyang finished fourth.
Chen -- already the only man to have hit seven quads over two programs in the same event -- opened with the quad lutz, the most difficult and highest-scoring jump. He proceeded to do a quad flip in combination with a double toeloop; another quad flip, in which he put his hand down but did not fall; a quad toeloop/triple toeloop; another quad toeloop; and a quad salchow. Skaters are not allowed to repeat the same type of jump unless it is done in combination.
An 18-year-old from Salt Lake City, Chen rebounded from a catastrophic short program to earn a career-high total of 215.08 points, which also represents a high-water mark for a men's free skate in the Olympic Games. The previous record was 178.64, set by Hanyu in his 2014 gold-medal performance.
"The sixth quad was almost a game-time decision. I knew I had nothing to lose," Chen said after his performance.
Even with his subpar short program, Chen's total of 297.35 for both programs was higher than Hanyu's 280.09 in 2014.
Chen also admitted high expectations going into the Olympics played a part in his short program struggles.
"As much as I tried to deny it, I think I did feel the pressure a lot, thinking about medals and placement and things like that, things that were entirely out of my control,'' Chen said. "That just tightened me up, made me really cautious on the ice, and that's not the way to skate.''
Kristi Yamaguchi, the gold-medal winner of the women's figure skating event at the 1992 Albertville Games, tweeted her astonishment of Chen's feat.
What?!?!?! Completely inhuman display of ridiculousness!!! 6 quads...beautiful skating. Guys beyond. Congratulations @nathanwchen (excuse my chicken scratch) 👏🏼#bowdown #figureskating pic.twitter.com/PjbTGM5pfr
— Kristi Yamaguchi (@kristiyamaguchi) February 17, 2018
Chen said it was his decision to ad-lib the last quad and he did not tell his coach, Rafael Arutunian, ahead of time.
"I planned it after last night,'' he said. "I'm not going to play it safe today. I definitely wanted to redeem myself."
ESPN's Elaine Teng and The Associated Press contributed to this report.