After almost three months off the ice due to an ankle ligament injury, the 23-year-old Japanese skater successfully defended his Olympic title on Friday, becoming the first man to win back-to-back golds since 1952.
Another quad master, China's Jin Boyang, was fourth.
The 23-year-old Hanyu, lithe, poetic, powerful and mysterious, had come into the Olympics on the complete opposite end of the spectrum as Chen: He hadn't skated competitively since October because of an ankle injury. That just tightened me up; made me really cautious out on the ice, and that's not the right way to skate.
"I skate with Nathan every day", said Rippon, who shares a coach and Southern California training rink with him in Southern California, "and he has had such a rough, f'ing week".
Yuzuru Hanyu was introduced as the Olympic gold medalist, skated over to the podium and jumped high onto it.
"This is the best day of my skating life", Hanyu said through an interpreter.
"I've really asked too much of my leg", he said. The Canadian landed a attractive opening quad toe-triple toe, but the doubled his second quad toe attempt and made a series of small errors from there: doubling an intended triple loop, putting a hand down on a triple axel, and even a trip in the footwork sequence. The trio of US women is not expected to finish among the top three when the competition begins Wednesday with the short program.
The top four men combined to land eight quads and four triple axels in their short programs.
"There was no ice time, or I totally would have (practiced)", he said. "A lot of people were watching, even if it was in the middle of the night".
Sochi silver victor Patrick Chan, who won team gold with Canada on Monday, once more couldn't overcome his personal nemesis, falling on the triple axel.
As well as claiming only Japan's third ever skating title, his gold medal was also the 1,000 awarded in Winter Games history.
Unfortunately, Chen was just unable to overcome the deficit.
"Honestly, I wasn't nervous at all", the 18-year-old told reporters after his performance, saying that doing so badly led to his decision to add another quad to his program. If I make a couple of mistakes in long, so be it. "I went home and lay in bed and tried to relax a bit". "It felt like a lot of my ups and downs, my hard work, all kind of culminated together in that kind of special Olympic moment", said Rippon, who lay flat on his back soaking up applause at the conclusion of his routine. No other skater has ever landed six quads in the Olympics.
"I was like, 'I already fell so many times (in this week), I might as well go out and throw everything down and see what happens'". "And then, being in such a low place going into the long, I allowed myself to completely forget about expectations and just allowed myself to be myself".