Vonn had been skiing in honor of her grandfather while in PeyongChang, and had his initials written in the side of her helmet. She was familiar with the course because she skied it three times in training runs in the lead-up to the downhill event, but opted out of competing so she could save her energy for the combined. She is, going forward, the face of the US ski team, and the way she embraced that silver means she and the American program have reason to celebrate.
Shiffrin has been dating Mathieu Faivre, an Alpine skier from France. Shiffrin, the three-time world champ in slalom, has been training slalom nearly nonstop since Friday. Still, after her third-place finish and emotional reaction to her final downhill race on Tuesday, it looked like she would rebound in the combined event on Thursday. Her older sister, Dominique, finished in a tie for downhill gold four years ago in Sochi.
"But as I saw in my career, things can change quite quickly", Vonn said.
In the gold-medal race, Japan defeated defending champion the Netherlands.
Vonn fought back tears afterward trying to describe it all.
"First of all, it's pretty nice to have two more Olympic medals", she said.
The race was contested seven days after Shiffrin's gold in giant slalom, on a different mountain, 45 minutes away.
"If there's someone that's going to beat me, I'm happy it's her because she's worked her tail off", Vonn said. "I wish my body didn't hurt as bad as it does".
Ten gold medals are on offer on day 13 of the Pyeongchang Olympics. She is expected to continue to pursue the all-time record of 86 wins held by Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden.
When the Italian got up for the early race, that confidence was at a peak.
Hundreds of Boca students walk out of class in protest
The protest was among many in Florida and across the country Wednesday. "Our goal is to make this tragedy the last of its kind". Which window am I gonna jump out of if there's a school shooter?', said Brighton High School senior Dylan Holcomb.
Only retired superstar Bode Miller - now an NBC commentator - has won more Olympic medals in alpine ski racing among Americans. "Then I had a tougher day in the slalom, but it still feels good though".
Goggia was fifth out of the starting gate, and turned in a near ideal run. Instead, the drama for Vonn would be over whether or not she would retain her second-place position. Why she engaged in a series of warm, lengthy hugs - with her sisters; with US coaches; with the victor, her good friend Sofia Goggia of Italy; with the runner-up, Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway.
To Vonn, it was as good as gold.
"It was like someone was playing a game of ping-pong in my brain", she said, and she laughed. "During Sochi, I was on the couch watching the Olympics after my second ACL surgery". And I think he would be proud of that'. She had come to PyeongChang with the hopes of winning multiple medals, and she did.
There's an outside chance she's not done, though the bookies in Las Vegas would be wise not to lay down a line.
"It's been a mental roller coaster", Shiffrin said.
Vonn, barring what she's called a medical miracle, won't be back for any future Olympics.
But the last one was special, and in so many ways.
Anyone with a pup knows how much a dog can help you. "And my other big goal was to prove that I could branch out and not just be a slalom skier". I believed in myself.
Sharyn Alfonsi: The list of injuries, can you give me Lindsey Vonn's greatest hits of injuries?