Nathan Chen delivered a spectacular comeback performance in the men's free skate at the Winter Olympics on Saturday, just 24 hours after his gold medal hopes were crushed.

But while the young American made things interesting, he could not overcome the top of the field or the history made by Yuzuru Hanyu.

USA's Nathan Chen competes in the men's single skating free skating of the figure skating event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung on February 17, 2018. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

The Japanese star became the first man since Dick Button 66 years ago to win back-to-back Olympic men's figure skating gold medals with an eye-popping score of 317.85.

Shoma Uno, also of Japan, won bronze with a score of 306.90.

Javier Fernandez made some history of his own in taking bronze. It is the first men's individual figure skating medal for Spain.

Chen, 18, became the first person to land five clean quads in an Olympic program and rack up a remarkable score of 215.08 in the free skate, nearly 11 points higher than his previous best. He started the day in 17th after a disastrous short program on Friday and rose all the way to fifth. He scored 297.35 overall.

Chen attempted six quad jumps but touched the ice with his hands after one of them; yet it could not detract from an incredible show of resiliency, having floundered so badly the previous day.

All three Americans made the top 10 with Vincent Zhou sixth and Adam Rippon 10th.

In the short program on Friday, Chen, one of the gold medal favorites going into the Games, placed a lowly 17th with an uncharacteristically timid and uneasy display and was devastated afterwards.

His bounce-back effort was enough to put him temporarily in first place and left to wait and see if the skaters to follow struggled enough to elevate him into the top five or even better.

"I did what I did and we will see what happens," Chen said.