Michael Johnson made the right decision in skipping the 200 meters Saturday in the USA-Mobil Outdoor Championships.

Johnson, the 1991 world champion in the 200, powered to victory in the 400 meters in 43.74 seconds, the fourth-fastest time in history, the fastest ever run in the United States and the fastest in the world this year.In posting his 22nd consecutive victory in the 400 since 1990, Johnson beat a glamorous field that included world record-holder Butch Reynolds, Olympic gold medalist Quincy Watts and 1991 world champion Antonio Pettigrew.

Reynolds, on the comeback trail this season after being suspended for nearly 21/2 years because of alleged drug use, finished second in 44.12, his fastest since returning to competition. He set the world record of 43.29 in 1988 at Zurich, Switzerland.

Watts owns the second- and third-fastest times, going 43.50 in last year's Olympic final and 43.71 in the Olympic semifinals. He finished third Saturday in 44.24.

Johnson, ranked No. 1 in the world in the 400 in 1990 and 1991, has wavered between running the 200 and the 400 in major meets.

This time, he chose the 400 because he did not think his speed was up to par to win the 200 following a recent hamstring injury.

It was the right selection.

The previous fastest time in the United States was Danny Everett's 43.81 in last year's Olympic trials at New Orleans.

With Johnson skipping the 200, 1992 Olympic gold medalist and American record-holder Mike Marsh won the title in a wind-aided 19.97, the fastest under any conditions in the world this year.

Marsh got off to a quick start and held on to beat former national record-holder Carl Lewis, the runner-up in 20.07. Little-known Jason Hendrix of Blinn Junior College edged Leroy Burrell, the former American record-holder in the 100, for third place, both timed in 20.35.

Two other winners produced 1993 world-leading performances.

Olympian Mark Everett came off the final curve with authority and won the men's 800 in 1:44.43, with Olympic bronze medalist Johnny Gray second in 1:44.67.

Olympian Jearl Miles took control of the women's 400 with 150 meters left and won in 50.43.

World record-holder Mike Powell beat collegiate champion Erick Walder of Arkansas in the men's long jump. Powell went 28 feet to Walder's 27-91/4 and the 27-4 of Olympic bronze medalist Joe Greene, all wind-aided.

Three women became double champions as the five-day meet finished.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee, winner of the heptathlon on Wednesday, won the long jump at 23-01/2, breaking the University of Oregon's Hayward Field record of 22-113/4 set by Jodi Anderson in 1980.

The most popular double winner was Annette Peters, an elementary teacher in nearby Springfield.

After winning the 3,000 meters Thursday night, she came back Saturday and took the 1,500 meters with a stunning stretch run to win in 4:11.53.

The other double winner was Connie Price-Smith. She added the shot put title, with a throw of 62-5, to the discus crown she won earlier.