Chen earned a score of 215.08 for his quad-heavy performance, combined with the figure skater's middling short program score of 82.27, gave him a total of 297.35 in the men's event which leads him to the No. 1 spot.
Shoma Uno of Japan landed silver with a score of 306.90, while Spain's Javier Fernandez won bronze with a score of 305.24, respectively. Almost all his jumps had interesting, hard entries and he landed two quads and six triples. "It's never really fully come together", Chen said, adding that he chose to throw in the unprecedented sixth quad after his implosion a day earlier.
"I'm glad I was able to show myself and show everyone else that I can bounce back from a bad performance", said Chen, who said he went straight back to bed after his short program trying to figure out what went wrong.
More than 5,000 spectators in Gangneung Ice Arena might feel the waves of Deja vu when Hanyu, in a delicately-embroidered costume of ancient Japanese ghost chaser, replayed Seimei, a defining programme he staged in 2015-2016 season to bring him to the peak of his career back then, but in a more ethereal way on Saturday.
Hanyu's screaming fans bombarded the ice with Pooh projectiles after a free skate filled with soaring jumps and soulful skating.
He became the first U.S. male skater to land two quad jumps in a short program and four quad jumps in the free skate event at the 2016 U.S. Figure Skating Championship.
"There was just a mix of emotions", he said. Watch the full program above, which he performed at the 2015 Grand Prix Final. "It was just a competition (in which) everyone was skating really good".
Fernandez was beside himself, having won his first Olympic medal after going so close in Sochi.
"I was so fortunate".
He also attributed the gold medal to Fernandez, a "friend and best competitor" as well. "I just did my best today".
Toshinobu Takahashi, who came to the public viewing site with Kondo, said that he could not even imagine how much effort Hanyu had to put in after a three-month competitive layoff before the Olympics.