"After the '76 Olympics," Ender says, "I had a two-hour session with the head of GDR sports, Manfred Ewald, who controlled all of our lives. He tried to talk me out of retiring. He couldn't, so after that, I no longer had good political cards. I would never be one of the trusted gold medalists allowed to travel beyond the country. But in that talk, I remember telling him that if I were to continue swimming, I'd have to use 'supporting means' [the euphemism for steroids], and that I didn't want to. That means I knew about them. I wonder how I knew?"
She quit swimming gladly. Ender was determined to be a doctor and to marry Roland Matthes, the 1968 and '72 Olympic 100- and 200-backstroke champion. The pairing had the look, to some, of eugenics. "NBC came here," Ender says, "and asked if Roland and I were forced to marry, to produce champions."
In fact, Ender's parents opposed the match because Matthes was 25 and Ender 18. "But what girl would listen?" says Ender. "I wanted to prove my independence. I was by no means a grown-up woman." They were married in May 1978. In September, Franziska was born.
"And without swimming," says Ender, "Roland and I turned out to be completely different people.... I decided to get out while I was young and could build a new life." Matthes is now a doctor in western Germany.
Ender's 1982 divorce made things even worse with the authorities and, perhaps not coincidentally, with one professor at Jena University, where she was studying medicine. "He was on my back so much, I finally stopped," she says. "I asked if I should try medicine at another university, maybe Halle, but the professor said it would be of no use. So I concentrated on becoming a physiotherapist."
Grummt returns with the wet-haired kids as Ender tells how he and she met. "In 1983 I started working in the medical department of the Jena Sports Club," she says, "and he came to be massaged."
"I'd heard," Grummt says, "that Kornelia Ender had joined the club. And I did need a massage." He had been fourth in the decathlon in the 1982 European Championships, was training for the '84 Olympics and looked like a young Omar Sharif.
"How long did I massage you?" she asks.
"Couldn't have been more than a day," he says dreamily. "After that I needed a lot of massages. One day we asked each other to coffee. She told me, 'My daughter needs a father...' "
"You said my daughter would need a father. You!" squeals Ender.