She is back in Montreal, experiencing it again. Adam climbs on her lap and hugs her hard. "After the races I don't think I mentioned steroids," she says. "Still, reporters egged me on. One guy asked how I felt getting 'another silver medal.' I said, 'How many silvers do you have?' That got them going, nudging each other—'What can we get her to say now?' "
In the tiny village of Schornsheim, in the rolling countryside between Frankfurt and Mainz in what used to be West Germany, a bright new house stands out against vineyards. Framed in a second-story window by her own frizzy golden curls, Kornelia Ender Grummt calls down to a visitor to come on in. She opens the door in jeans and a sweatshirt reading SPORT FÜR ALLE.
Much of the upper-body muscle that inspired PEOPLE magazine to call Ender "ox-shouldered" and "Junoesque" has melted away, accentuating her 5'11" height. At 33 she weighs 140 pounds, 27 less than in 1976.
The shapes of Ender's forehead and mouth are reminiscent of those in 18th-century Middle European portraits. She wears three pendants and many slender gold rings and earrings.
Quickly, because they are leaving for swimming practice, Ender introduces her second husband, Steffen Grummt, a dark and decisive former decathlete and bobsledder for the GDR, and their two children: Franziska, 13, tall, angular and shy, and Tiffany, 6, strong and cute, a replica of her mother as a child.
The house empty, Ender puts coffee and cake on the kitchen table, sits and, intending to tell her story in an orderly way, takes herself as far back as she can. "My father was an army officer, a colonel," she begins, speaking through a translator. "My mother was a head nurse. When I was four, my father was transferred to Bitterfeld, where he was district commander. My parents still live there.
"I was a robust child. I was nice, but I was tough. When I didn't get what I wanted, I'd stamp and scream."
Having been discovered at six in a preschool swimming class, Ender was enrolled at 11 in the Chemie Club training center near Bitterfeld in Halle, a city in the southwest corner of East Germany, where she lived in a dorm and swam six to seven miles a day in workouts overseen by both her personal coach, Helmut Langbein, and the team doctor, Lothar Kipke. At 13, in the '72 Olympics, she anchored two GDR relays to silvers and was second in the 200 IM. Over the next four years she would set 23 world records.
Ender cannot say for sure whether or not she was given steroids. To her knowledge, her name has never been mentioned by the East German coaches who have admitted to administering steroids to swimmers. "After every workout I got a 'cocktail' with vitamins," she says. "I drank it because I wanted to recover as fast as I could." So her trainers could easily have added oral steroids. If they did, they didn't tell her.
"You must understand that no one," she says firmly, "not swimmers or coaches or doctors, ever spoke about drugs. Sports officials never talked to us about anything. We never questioned what we were being given. I wish I could ask Coach Langbein, but he died of cancer in 1982."