CALGARY, FEB. 26 -- Little Bonnie Blair was at play in the land of the giants again, but this time she came up short.

Blair, who sent U.S. Olympic hopes soaring with a gold medal in 500-meter speed skating Monday, was only third best tonight as East Germans Christa Rothenburger and Karin Enke-Kania both topped the world record time at 1,000 meters to take the gold and silver.

A weary Blair hung on to best No. 3 East German Andrea Ehrig and claim her second medal, a bronze, to become the only U.S. multimedal winner of these Olympics.

Tonight's event was a show of wildly different skating styles on the Calgary Olympic Oval and an upset within the East German ranks as Rothenburger beat Enke-Kania for the first time in years in a major competition.

Blair, the shrimp of the show at 5 feet 3 and 130 pounds, was the first of the three to race, and scatted off the starting line like a hounded rabbit. Her opening 200 meters was on a world-record pace and she was still scampering at 500 meters.

But in the final lap, Blair, a sprinter at heart, flagged visibly and struggled home in 1:18:31, two-tenths of a second off the world record Enke-Kania set here in December.

At the 600-meter mark, "I knew I was on a good one," Blair said, "but in the backstretch my legs tightened and it was a hard last corner."

The 5-10, 160-pound Enke-Kania followed. Her 200-meter opener was a quarter-second slower than Blair's, but once the 27-year-old Olympic veteran got going, momentum took over and she kept going.

Eating up the ice with long strides, Enke-Kania turned the last 400 meters in a stunning 30.5 seconds to set a new world mark of 1:17.70.

It all but guaranteed Enke-Kania her seventh Olympic medal, a record for women speed skaters, and she looked a shoo-in to make it a gold.

But along came Rothenburger, at 5-5 the middle-sized bear, to snatch the treasure away. Paired with Japan's Seiko Hashimoto, Rothenburger started fast and stayed smooth, nicking five one-hundredths of a second off Enke-Kania's new mark with a 1:17.65.

It was the first time Enke-Kania had been beaten at 1,000 meters in a major competition since before the 1984 Games.

The win also gave the East German women, strong favorites to dominate this competition, their first gold in the three women's events run so far.

East German coach Ernst Luding was so delighted he raced onto the ice to congratulate Rothenburger in her cool-down lap and knocked his prize pupil for a loop, the pair tumbling to the ice in a heap.

It was a fitting sort of gaffe, since they plan to be married this spring, and there was no harm done.

If Rothenburger's win was a surprise, given Enke-Kania's grip on the 1,000-meter event, it wasn't totally unexpected.

Enke-Kania was considered a possible five-medal winner coming into the Games but managed only a third-place finish in the 500 on Monday, then pulled up sore in the 3,000 meters Tuesday and finished fourth.

Running against Ehrig, Enke-Kania grabbed her side on the last lap of that race and straightened up in pain.

She hasn't talked about it since, though team officials say she's fine.

But Blair tonight said Enke-Kania may not be up to snuff for the two remaining races, the 1,500-meter Saturday and the 5,000 Sunday.

"I think the 3,000 the other night took a lot out of her. I've never seen her hurt that much at the end of a race," said Blair.

Rothenburger's win clears the first hurdle in the 28-year-old Olympian's plan to win medals in both winter and summer Olympics. She hopes to compete in bicycle sprint racing for East Germany in Seoul, South Korea, next fall.

She said tonight she's been training in bicycle racing since 1976 and competing since 1979. She was the 1986 world champion bicycle sprinter and runner-up in 1987.

Rothenburger said she had to give "all my power and strength" to win. She said her best time previously was almost two seconds slower than the record she set tonight.

She also repeated the East German team's assurances that Enke-Kania was healthy. "Karin is in very good condition," said Rothernburger through an interpreter. "She set a world record tonight. She could have won, but in the end, I won."

Blair, who said she never expected to win at this distance, was content with her performance. "I got a personal best by 1.2 seconds," said the 23-year-old from Champaign, Ill. "I'm happy."

Blair said she didn't try anything fancy, just went as fast as she could as long as she could. "I was so tired I had a hard time getting around that last turn," she said.

"Karin, Christa and I are pretty much the top three, and that {the bronze} is what I hoped for," added Blair. "To get another medal for myself and the U.S. was great."

Blair said she's hoping to finish in the medals in Saturday's 1,500 meters, as well, but the longer the distances, the further she gets from her strength, sprinting.