Heroes fall, but none so fast or so hard as Ben Johnson, who fled the Olympics "in a complete state of shock," stripped of his gold for cheating with drugs in the Games' most stunning scandal ever.

Johnson's positive test for steroids didn't surprise everyone - drug abuse is rampant in the sports world -but it shook athletes, officials and fans from the Olympic Village to Canada.

It led a group of about 100 athletes from 38 countries to issue a declaration urging unannounced random drug testing in training and competition, stiff penalties for guilty athletes, coaches and officials, and more education to prevent doping violations.

It also left Carl Lewis with Johnson's gold from the tainted 100-meter race, wiped out Johnson's world record time of 9.79 seconds, and brought Great Britain's Linford Christie a silver and American Calvin Smith a bronze.

Virtually missed were the tears of joy Greg Louganis shed after his dramatic one-point triumph over a Chinese teen-ager for his second gold, making him the first man to win springboard and platform diving in back-to-back Games.

Largely ignored, too, were the U.S. women's basketball team's 102-88 victory over the Soviet Union that sent the Americans into a gold medal game against Yugoslavia, and boxing quarterfinal victories that assured at least bronzes to Americans Andrew Maynard, Michael Carbajal and Romallis Ellis.

Teammate Todd Foster, however, lost his 139-pound quarterfinal bout, ending U.S. hopes of repeating its nine gold medal performance of the 1984 Olympics.

Eight American fighters remain in the boxing competition, and three are in the semifinals. The other five fight Wednesday, with the winners advancing to the semis.

The Soviets took a weightlifting gold for the fourth straight day, taking advantage of the absence of the entire Bulgarian team, which left after two of its gold medalists were disqualified for using drugs.

Yuri Zakharevitch set two world records in the heavyweight class, including a combined lift of 1,001 pounds, to give the Soviets 35 gold and 80 medals overall.

East Germany is second with 29 golds and a total of 71, and the United States is third with 17 golds and 51 overall.

Though nearly 10,000 athletes toiled on the playing fields and in the arenas, all were overshadowed by the scandal of scowling "Big Ben," caught using a muscle-building but dangerous and illegal anabolic steroid called stanozolol.

Two tests of Johnson's urine sample proved positive and his denials of drug use were rejected. Neither a spiked sarsparilla in his track bag, as his coach suggested, nor a switched sample at the lab could have accounted for the levels of steroids found in the tests, officials said.

Indeed, the computerized tests showed Johnson probably was taking steroids for a long time, according to a track federation medical official.

In a middle-of-the-night meeting with Olympic and Canadian officials, his mother, sister, coach and manager, Johnson, 26, forfeited his most prized possession, the gold medal he'd had in his hands for only three days.

The world's fastest human also was automatically suspended from international competition for two years and banned from Canada's national team for life.

"He appeared to be in a complete state of shock and not comprehending the situation," said Canada's chief of mission, Carol Anne Letheren. "Ben was not able to discuss or articulate anything at that moment ... He was just not able to speak and it was a very difficult moment for all of us."

A few hours later, he slipped away to the airport and silently boarded a plane to New York.

Behind him lay an Olympics in shambles.

"This is a blow for the Olympic Games and the Olympic movement," said International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch.

In Canada, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney said the scandal over one of the nation's most admired figures was a "personal tragedy for Ben and his family. It's also a moment of great sorrow for all Canadians."

Abby Hoffman, the head of Sport Canada, the governing body responsible for amateur sport in the country, said the scandal is "a desecration of the whole Games and of the sport."

The vice president of the IOC, however, said he's certain Johnson didn't know he was taking steroids and that someone gave him the drugs in the guise of other medication or vitamins. "He just doesn't know about these things," said Dick Pound, a Montreal attorney. "That's what makes it all the more tragic . . . Athletes have the guilty bodies. The guilty minds are elsewhere."

Lewis is halfway toward reaching an unprecedented second sweep of four golds in the 100, 200, long jump and 400 relay, with victories now in the 100 and long jump, but that accomplishment also will be stained.

Lewis didn't gloat over his rival's fall, choosing instead to say only, "If there is an incident, I am deeply sorry."

After Saturday's race, though, Lewis had said he couldn't understand how Johnson could run as fast as he did after looking tired in the qualifying heats.

Many athletes viewed the revelation of Johnson's drug use as confirmation of what they'd already suspected was going on in the sport.

"I'm happy Ben was caught, because this proves he was using drugs," Calvin Smith said. "He will get the punishment he deserves, because drugs should not be in sports. The sport is getting wild, with so many people on drugs. And those not on drugs are trying to keep up with those on it. It's very difficult."

Johnson's manager, Larry Heidebrecht, refused to believe the drug tests. "The only thing we can say at this stage is that it is a tragedy, a mistake or a sabotage," Heidebrecht said. "Up to five days before the race, Ben was in perfect condition. Something has happened in those days. We do not know what happened and how it happened, but apparently somebody has sabotaged Ben and we will find out who it was and how it was done."