CALGARY, FEB. 23 -- The merchandisers are circling Bonnie Blair now that she's won her Olympic gold. "Cosmetics," said her agent, Jim Fink, citing one possible direction. "Women's clothing. Beer."

This should be fun. The closest anyone can recall Bonnie Blair getting to makeup is when she recoiled in horror today after a snuggly photo session with her mom, Eleanor.

"Now I've probably got lipstick all over me," said Blair with a wince.

Fashion? Give Blair a pair of loose jeans and a warmup jacket and she's right. A good lunch to her is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and her idea of a wild night is getting into bed after midnight.

"I'm a person that sleeps very well," she said. Sorry, Sominex.

Whether Blair can be dolled up to sell you stuff you probably don't need remains to be seen. Let's hope not, because you would like Bonnie Blair just as she is.

You'd like her homespun honesty. Ambitions? She wants to finish college, get a job, "hopefully get married."

You'd like her relationship with her sponsors, the Champaign, Ill., Police Department, whose goal in sponsoring her, she said, is, "Champaign being known."

You'd like her family, all the ones who came to watch her beat two East Germans in the 500-meter sprint Monday night and claim the first U.S. women's speed skating gold since 1976.

There were mom and dad, brother Chuck, sister Mary and her husband and their kids, sister Susie the airline stewardess, who arranges cheap flights to get everyone to Bonnie's races, brother Rob and his wife and their new baby from Texas, sister Angela, Uncle Lennie. That's most of it, plus all her sisters' friends and brothers' friends.

"The list goes on and on," said Blair, who after she won kept skating around and around the oval, waving to the assembled hometown masses with a great, big, happy grin on her face and tears in her eyes.

You'd like her uneventful athletic past. Running track in high school, "I really wasn't good in anything," said Blair. "I was just a filler, whatever the coach needed if he didn't have enough people. Short distances, relays, long jump, high jump. I tried gymnastics, too."

But Blair flowered in skating. She was the youngest of six kids, all of whom skated, and her parents put her on the ice when she was just 2 years old. Her feet were so small, she had to wear shoes underneath to fill up the skates.

Her first speed skating was in pack racing, where she honed her competitive spirit. "I just liked to chase somebody and drive right past 'em," said Blair. "It gives you something within you. In the pack, you want to beat that person next to you."

Anyway, it didn't start out all that auspiciously. She was good. Very good. But she didn't get world-class great until her boyfriend, Dave Silk, a distance specialist on the men's team, convinced her the way to get great was hard work.

"He's the hardest worker on the team, and he got me into that, too," she said. "In Champaign, I'd miss a workout or two. But Dave gave me real direction."

You'd like what Blair did after she won the prize she'd worked years to attain.

"First I went and threw down some food real quick," she said.

"Then we went and did this {TV} thing with Frank and Kathie Lee Griffin."

"Gifford!" somebody from ABC shouted.

"Oh, yeah, sorry about that."

Then she went to the Olympic Village to eat dinner and get a rubdown, but Silk told her about a party his family and hers were enjoying. "He said, 'I think we should celebrate.' "

So Blair did something wild and crazy. She went to a party. "It was nuts," she said. But she didn't stay long.

Still, it was a late night for Blair, and even when she got home it was hard to get to sleep. "I was lying in bed. I didn't get to sleep until about 1:30."

Things are leveling out now for Blair. She's getting back into training for her Friday and Saturday appearances in the 1,000 and 1,500 meters, where she said she'll have to skate her best to win a medal.

Even if she doesn't win another race, they're already talking about Blair as "America's Sweetheart." The merchandisers are moving in with big ambitions for a 5-foot-3 woman.

Time to cash in?

"My agent knows more about that than I do," said Blair. "It would be nice to get a little bit. But I'm not relying on it."

Good night, Bonnie.

Sleep tight.