Mary Decker Slaney ran the fastest women's 3,000 meters in the world this year, leaving Zola Budd a distant fourth in their "Olympic rematch" today at a Grand Prix track and field meet.

Slaney led from start to finish in her first race with Budd since they collided in the 3,000-meter final in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Slaney, the world champion at 1,500 and 3,000 meters, had said before the race today that she wanted to better her personal-best time of 8:29.71. She crossed the finish line in 8:32.91, far better than the previous best this year of 8:40.10 by Cornelia Burki of Switzerland

Budd, 19, finished fourth in 8:45.43, 50 meters behind Slaney. Burki was second in 8:38.71 and Ingrid Kristiansen of Norway was third in 8:40.34.

Slaney's time was more than 10 seconds off the world record of 8:22.62 set by Tatyana Kazankina of the Soviet Union last year.

Triple jump world record holder Willie Banks of the United States presented Slaney with champagne afterward, saying, "She did that in rather stressful circumstances."

Decker and Budd reportedly were paid an estimated 25,000 pounds ($35,000) each to take part.

The race, held under cloudy skies with a breeze blowing, was shown live on television in the United States, West Germany, Japan, France and Britain.

The start of the race was delayed by about two minutes when a man jumped from the stands and threw several copies of an antiapartheid leaflet onto the track. He was about 200 meters from the athletes at the time and was quickly removed by two track stewards.

Charine James of the London-based antiapartheid movement said the demonstration was to protest the speed of Budd's being given British citizenship in 1984. She was granted it 10 days after arriving here from her native South Africa, a decision that enabled her to run in the Olympics.

There was a special cheer for Britain's Steve Cram, making his first appearance in the country since setting a world 1,500-meter record of 3:29.67 in Nice Tuesday. He effortlessly won the mile in 3:56.13 against a weak field.

World pole vault record-holder Sergei Bubka decided not to compete and compatriot Aleksandr Krupskiy won at 18-4 1/2.