CALGARY, Canada — American Bonnie Blair won a gold medal in the 500 meters, her best speed-skating race, but she has a chance for another medal tonight in the women's 1,000 meters, which is her second-best event.
As usual, Blair's chief competition for medals in the 1,000 and the 1,500 that will be raced Saturday night are East German sprinters Karen Kania, Christa Rothenburger and Andrea Ehrig.
Blair is particularly concerned with Kania, the 5-foot 8-inch, 26-year-old world record-holder and defending Olympic champion, in both races.
"I remember the first time I skated behind her," Blair said. "I thought I was skating behind a male skater."
Kania is skating toward a record-breaking seventh Olympic gold medal. She is tied with the Soviet Union's Lidija Skoblikova.
Blair may be the only hope to keep East Germany from sweeping the medals in the two races. In two events skated so far, the 500 and the 3,000, East Germany took four of the six medals. The East Germans won 9 of the 12 medals in 1984 at Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.
"I've felt good on the ice ever since I've been here," Blair said. "Everything seems to be going pretty well. I think if I can skate to my best capabilities, I am hoping that medals can also be won in the 1,000 and the 1,500 as well.
"It's nice to be able to have (a gold medal), to be able to relax a little bit, but I still have two more races to concentrate on," she said. "And there will still be a little pressure I've put on myself."
What did Blair do with her gold medal?
"I gave it to the USOC to lock up," she said.
When two athletes from the Soviet Union left the Olympic Village before the Games had ended, speculation grew that something mysterious had happened to them.
Not true, a Soviet Union spokesman said Thursday.
Ski jumpers Eduard Subotch and Michael Yesin were withdrawn from the 70- and 90-meter events, a Soviet delegation spokesman said, because their training distances were low, the events were postponed by wind and they had to catch a plane.
Allar Levandi, team leader in the Nordic combined, had an upset stomach after his first jump and withdrew.
Aye, there's the rub: Olympic athletes have been flocking to the Tiger Balm Sports Massage Clinics. About 100 a day have had their muscles rubbed with the solution.
Journalists got their chance Thursday when the masseurs and masseuses visited the Main Press Center.
Gib Twyman of the Kansas City Star got his first massage.
"That was an Olympic moment for me," Twyman said.
Twyman's masseuse found a knot in his back that she said was probably caused by stress and carrying his briefcase and computer over his shoulder.
"The journalist of the future is probably going to be a donkey," Twyman said. "You've got to carry things around, and it's usually a fair hike between venues. By this time, we're all feeling pretty weary."
British reporter Malcolm Folley of the London Daily Express said the sentiment back home on Fleet Street toward ski jumper Eddie Edwards has evolved from curiosity into bemusement. "He's a bit of a fool, isn't he?" Folley asked.
Willie Gault, the U.S. bobsledder, said he spoke this week with two-time Summer Olympic gold medalist Edwin Moses and Moses told him he wants to try out for the bobsled team for the 1992 Winter Games.
"I'm not trying to recruit a team here," he said. "But Edwin says he does have an interest."
Times staff writer Randy Harvey contributed to this story.