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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.
Moments later, 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 change.
"The 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 floating...."
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?" asked one.
"Yes, the pity," they said. "Bombed. How did you go?"
"I did...O.K.," she said, suddenly embarrassed. All eyes fell on the box she had brought with her.