Regina Jacobs was stripped of her 2003 U.S. title in the 1,500 meters shortly after accepting a four-year ban from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency Saturday for testing positive for the designer steroid THG at the U.S. championships last year.
Jacobs, among five athletes banned for positive tests for THG, agreed to forfeit all of her results since June 21, 2003, the date of the positive test. Jacobs has not competed this season and retired from the sport Thursday.
Jacobs, 40, said in a statement that she accepted the ban and decided to retire from the sport because she wanted to avoid being subjected to USADA's unfair procedures, which she claimed included scheduling a hearing on the date of Sunday's 1,500 final.
Thursday was not the first time Jacobs had retired, however, and her attorney, Edward G. Williams, rejected an offer last week to move the hearing, USADA Director of Legal Affairs Travis Tygart said Saturday. Jacobs faxed a letter of retirement to USADA in December 2003, after charges had been levied against her, Tygart said. A few days later, however, she sent a letter rescinding her retirement.
Tygart alleged Friday that Williams only intended to stall the process, given that he informed USADA and the arbitration board that he planned to bring forward no evidence, call no witnesses, produce no exhibits and offer no experts or expert reports at her scheduled hearing despite months of preparation.
Williams acknowledged that Jacobs had sent the letter of retirement but said: "She never finalized that. There's a certain way to retire. You have to jump through certain hoops to retire. She undid it."
Williams argued unsuccessfully in U.S. district court and on appeal that USADA's arbitration process was unfair. He has maintained for months that athletes are entitled to arbitration under the American Arbitration Association's commercial rules.
Williams also complained this week about the date of Jacobs's hearing, saying it made it nearly possible for her to compete, but Tygart said Saturday that Williams rejected an offer last week by USADA to move her hearing to a more convenient day at the end of the month. Williams said Saturday he refused the offer because he had made three requests for such a move and it came too late.
"The damage," Williams said, "had been done."
Jacobs, who made staggering strides in the sport as she aged, has taken a job as a real estate associate with Prudential in Oakland, Calif. Suzy Favor Hamilton, who finished behind Jacobs at the 2003 championships, was declared the national champion Saturday.