BARCELONA, Spain, Aug. 6— Gail Devers was so far ahead in the 100-meter hurdles final, it was time to dive into the record books for the proper spelling of Fanny Blankers-Koen. She was the Dutch woman who won an uncommon sprint-hurdles double at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London. Her events were the 100-meter dash and the 80-meter hurdles.

Devers took care of the dash last Saturday, and she came within 10 meters from the hurdles gold medal tonight, but her right foot caught the top of the final hurdle and sent her sprawling toward the track.

In a flash, the trailing pack came up on her, and although she kept scrambling to the finish, the sure gold medal was gone. Paraskevi Patoulidou of Greece, the first Olympic winner in track and field from her country in 80 years, won in 12.64 seconds, followed by LaVonna Martin of the United States in 12.69 and Yordanka Donkova of Bulgaria, the world-record holder, in 12.70.

Lynda Tolbert was given fourth place in 12.75, the same time Devers managed in a far more horizontal position.

"It just wasn't meant to be," said Devers, who was eliminated in the semifinals of the event four years ago in Seoul, South Korea. "I can say I finished this time, so that a step farther than I went in '88.

The 27-year-old winner was as unlikely as any in the Olympics. Patoulidou, virtually unknown outside Greece, said her previous career highlight was a recent hurdles race in the Balkan Games in Sofia, Bulgaria.

"It was an excellent race until the last meters," she said of the Sofia race, which sounded eerily like Devers's experience today. "I fell. Until that moment, it was my best race even if I have no result out of it."

Her result today made Patoulidou the first medalist from Greece in Olympic track and field competition since 1956, when Georgios Roubanis won the bronze in the pole vault, and the first Greek gold medalist since 1912, when Konstantin Tsiklitiris won the standing broad jump.

Beyond the finish line, she was overcome with emotion and wrapped in a Greek flag for her victory lap.

"I think I am dreaming now," she said later. "I could not imagine being third. Now I am the winner. I think I am dreaming."

The winning time was well under her pre-Olympic best of 12.96. She ran 12.88 in the semifinals.

"I wanted to beat the Americans, because they think they are invincible," Patoulidou said. "But I really thought I would finish third. I won't be sleeping tonight."

Another sprinter who received a measure of satisfaction was Gwen Torrence of the United States. She won the women's 200 meters in 21.81 seconds, after her fourth-place finish in the 100 to Devers, Juliet Cuthbert of Jamaica and Irina Privalova of the Unified team. Today, Cuthbert was second again, in 22.02, with another Jamaican, Merlene Ottey, third in 22.09.

Torrence had finished second in both events at the world championships last year in Tokyo to Katrin Krabbe of Germany, who has since been suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs. Torrence used her platform today to set the record straight about what she actually said to Cuthbert after the 100. Cuthbert had said that Torrence told her Privalova and Devers were drug users.

"I did not mention any names," Torrence said at the post-race news conference. "I was only giving my opinion that some people in the race used drugs."

No so, said Cuthbert, who was sitting to Torrence's right. "She named Privalova and Gail," Cuthbert said. Familiar Turnover

What should not get lost amid the vitriolic comments was Torrence's achievement. She came off the curve and sped past Cuthbert and Ottey.

"When I got to about the 170-meter mark, I see out of the corner of my eye that Juliet was coming," said Torrence. "I'd know that turnover anywhere.

"My arms got wild and my legs got wild and my head flew back and the finish line started getting further and further away from me. When I finally crossed the finish line, I was just ecstatic."

Photo: Gail Devers, far right, of the U.S lunging toward the finish line after tripping in the 100-meter hurdles final. Paraskevi Patoulidou of Greece, left, finished first. (Associated Press)