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I finished fourth. Frank was waiting beyond the line to catch me; he was the first American to have won the Olympic marathon in 64 years. We walked on the grass outside the track, leaning on each other. Photographers screamed incomprehensibly from their moat. Bobbie was there, holding me, and I came apart, pain and frustration forcing out tears. "I tried so hard," I said. She just held me. In a few seconds I knew it was all right. She was more important than any medal and it was over and it didn't matter if I cried. I was amazed at having the moisture.
I walked and jogged a lap, trying to work out some of the lactic acid and the lowering depression it brings. I was an Olympian again, bruised, bloody, half-delirious. Legitimate.
A most congenial adventurer, William Norris, 28, of Beverly, Mass., three-time IC4A steeplechase champion, has hitchhiked across Africa, cornered the Manhattan market in Christmas trees and traveled 100,000 miles while in the U.S. Army without ever taking a day's leave or lifting a rifle in anger.
Bill Norris came to Munich from Eugene, Ore., where he was employed as a carpenter, having learned the trade in a week by watching other carpenters. Within days he was working for ABC, UPI and TIME. It was Norris who noticed sprinters Eddie Hart and Rey Robinson in the ABC-TV building when their second-round heats were being run. He got them to the stadium, but too late.
Early on the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 5, when the Village was coming to the realization that it was under siege by murderers, Bill Norris burst, panting, into my room. He carried a camera with a monstrous telephoto lens and a Hungarian Airlines bag that emitted growls and spitting noises.
"Have you got a glass of water?" he said. "I haven't had anything to drink for two days."
He collapsed onto a bed while I brought him a quart bottle of Coke. He drank it right down, his eyes filling with tears from the sting of the carbonation. "At last," ht sighed. "What a morning."
"What in hell have you been doing?"
"Taking pictures of the terrorists. The Hungarian and New Zealand buildings are across from the Israelis'."
"I thought they were sealed off."