"...so I had to marry her. I had no chance."
Their wedding was bittersweet consolation to Grummt: It came in August 1984, while East Germany was boycotting the Los Angeles Olympics. "That decathlon was to be my ultimate," he says. "I get goose pimples when I think about it now, how it could have been Daley Thompson, Jurgen Hingsen and...me."
The following April, Tiffany was born. "We named her after Tiffany Chin, the American figure skater," says Ender. "We loved the name. As in Breakfast at Tiffany's. It took three days to register it, because that name didn't exist in the GDR. We made Tiffy the first."
The child herself, chewing on gummi bears and sipping a fruit drink, says, "Thanks, Mom," and you figure, eugenics aside, she has to meet Adam Babashoff.
Grummt didn't have the political protection that being a world-record holder from an army family had provided Ender. Nor did he bend to the GDR's rule forbidding contact with opponents. He met secretly with Britain's Thompson, and after Grummt switched sports and became a brakeman on the GDR's world-champion two- and four-man bobsled teams, he struck up clandestine friendships with members of the hated Swiss team.
"He did it even though the Department of State Security—the Stasi, the secret police—recruited watchdogs among the athletes," says Ender. In 1987 the secret police told Grummt he would be dropped from the bobsled team. The Stasi had reams of what it considered damning evidence, including a Swiss bobsledder's address found in Grummt's locker. "I couldn't tell the truth and say that the man was just going to help me get a VCR," says Grummt, "because that was worse than making a friend."
"You weren't even allowed to bring back Pampers from the West," says Ender, "because they weren't available here."
Grummt was also barred from coaching. "And because of Steffen," says Ender, "I stopped being invited anywhere, either. My thinking had really begun to change. We had friends who applied for exit visas, and suddenly we had to meet them in secret. They told us all the things the Stasi did—opening their mail, ostracizing them at work. It was hard for me to believe the authorities were capable of all that. That was when we began to consider leaving too."
This was almost as hard for Ender as acknowledging Stasi abuses. "My father, when he came to visit us," she says, "would turn off the West channels on TV and watch only the East. He believed that if you went west, you were acting against human rights."
In 1989 the Grummts applied to emigrate. The Stasi immediately threw a cordon of intimidating security around them, following them constantly. The Grummts felt their best chance was to travel to a Soviet-bloc country where they might throw themselves on the mercy of an embassy to help them reach West Germany. Others had the same idea. Many others.