Captain Micki King
has come to understand, in these two years since the Munich Olympics, that the
television camera inserts moments of mutual experience into our lives. Most
everyone she meets tells her that the details of her triumph in the three-meter
springboard diving are fixed in memory with peculiar clarity. They remember
long pauses on the board before her dives, when this willowy girl with the
broad back and sun-streaked hair would squirm and hitch her suit and seem so
frightened. They recall the stunning precision of her body in flight, of the
clean, unhurried descent into the rich purple of Munich's pool. And most
clearly of all, they can see her rising after her last dive, mounting the
stairs from the water with a relieved smile, then looking over her shoulder at
the judges' scores, her expression, caught perfectly by the camera, sharpening
to a glittering recognition of victory. Finally, as the gold medal was placed
around her neck and the anthem played, she stood weeping calmly, and the
cameras left her.
Captain King was led by an official to chemistry's contribution to the
Olympics, the doping urinalysis, and the mood of the proceedings began to
attendants tried everything," she says now. "They gave me quarts of
Coke, ran warm water by my ear. But with the excitement and everything, it was
two hours before I got out of there."
By then it was
nearly midnight and King's teammates had long since gone into downtown Munich
to celebrate her win. Meanwhile, "All my own need to go wild was gone;
there was no thumping excitement. I was dreamy, I was just sort of
She drifted into
the Olympic Village dining hall and sat with a couple of Australian weight
lifters, strangers, who poured her a glass of wine. "Compete today?"
pity," they said. "Bombed. How did you go?"
did...O.K.," she said, suddenly embarrassed. All eyes fell on the box she
had brought with her.