ATHENS, SEPT. 7 -- Leroy Burrell has demonstrated again that he is the fastest man in the world, at least for this year. He followed up a victory over training partner Carl Lewis in the Goodwill Games in Seattle in late July by beating him in the Mobil Grand Prix final tonight.

Burrell was never headed, snapping out of the starting blocks like a jackrabbit, while multi-Olympic gold medalist Lewis gave his familiar impression of a man easing himself out of an armchair.

Burrell won in 10.04 seconds. Mark Witherspoon, another of their colleagues from the Santa Monica Track Club, compounded Lewis's discomfort by finishing second in 10.11, with Lewis third in 10.12.

Burrell's victory also made him the overall champion on the 20-meet circuit, which earned him $35,000. Lewis probably earned that same amount from the meet promoters for just turning up, a circumstance that did not find favor with all of his opponents.

An injury he has had much of this season prevented Lewis from qualifying directly for the final. But the Grand Prix rules permit nonscoring "wild cards."

Despite the club affiliation, Burrell felt constrained to say, "I'd prefer anyone who had a legitimate shot to be here, anyone who's run well all season. It's not my decision whether he {Carl} has a legitimate shot or not. That's the rules, for what reason I don't know. I want to win no matter who's here."

And win he did, to the pleasure of many. Lewis has never endeared himself to many of his track contemporaries. And the recent publication of his book, "My Amateur Life in Professional Track and Field," has probably exacerbated the situation.

In his only loss this season, Burrell, 23, claimed Olapade Adeniken of Nigeria, in the adjacent lane in Malmo, Sweden, on Aug. 7, twice elbowed him in the chest. Burrell may have felt some sort of satisfaction when Adeniken fell across the line and hurt his arm and has not raced since.

It proved to be a big season for sprinters. Merlene Ottey was an equally popular winner of the women's overall Grand Prix award. She took the 200 meters tonight in 21.88 seconds. PattiSue Plumer was one of five other women with the maximum 63 points, but Ottey's 21.66-second performance in Nice, France, on July 10 was judged to be the top performance of the season, thus making her the champion.

In the intermediate hurdles tonight, Samuel Matete of Zambia edged the previously unbeaten Danny Harris. The American had his usual fast start and Matete his usual fast finish. It took a photo to decide which tactic worked better. Matete, now living in Brenham, Tex., was judged the winner with a personal best of 47.92 seconds, three-hundredths of a second ahead of Harris.