No doubt, I will update my initial post in this topic from time to time; but let me get started with this:
I'm sure that some of you might be thinking that she might have been better off if she had spilled the beans the moment she testified before the grand jury in October, 2003. But consider this: Had she done so, the scandal would have been much bigger, and her fall would have been faster and ever more furious.
Then again, if she had confessed, back then or even as late as June, 2004, she quite probably would have faced a 4-year suspension, possibly retroactive to the day of the BALCO raid or the day of her testimony. She would have been back in late-2007, or early-2008, to redeem herself; maybe not in the 100 and/or 200, but certainly on the track. Needless to say, she still would have been forced to relinquish her medals.
Could she have weathered the storm and retired unscathed? Probably, but even before her confession, she had enough scars to make her 2000 campaign a meaningless, tainted and even forgotten one.
She might have retired with nothing worse than her legacy in doubt, but something unexpected tripped her up: Justin Gatlin's positive test. If the feds were investigating Trevor Graham, Gatlin's promising career being put on critical hold was the straw that broke the camel's back, and USATF, USADA and the feds decided to go after Graham full-tilt.
There is no question that, the sooner Trevor Graham's trial got under way, she, like Greg Anderson in the Barry Bonds investigation, would have been ordered to testify, and quite probably as a hostile witness. Whatever dirty laundry they had on her that no one has seen or heard about (as of yet) would have been made public, and she would have been nailed right there, and it would have been 5 times as worse. She had no choice but to spill the beans on herself.
Marion is broke now, and was pretty much forgotten before yesterday. Scandal that it still is, it doesn't sting nearly as much as it would have, had she come clean in 2003 or 2004. In fact, her story is not even the biggest story right now, because her legacy had already been in tatters long before her confession. She had already fallen, and except for her medals, she pretty much had nothing left to lose. The baseball playoffs are under way; Barry Bonds still under investigation, after having reached 762 career home runs; Britney just lost full custody of her kids and has one foot in the door of the funny farm (or the funeral home); dissidents are being rounded up, shot or disappearing in Myanmar; The UEFA Cup is under way; and the presidential campaign is having many twists and turns. Her story is just another story right now.
Nevertheless, if she ever has any thoughts whatsoever of returning to the track (perhaps in the 800, fat chance though it may be) she still faces the possiblity of a suspension, probably for life. Beijing is definitely out of the question (not that she had any plans, anyway), because she'll be serving out her prison sentence.
Consider that Martha Stewart got 5 months for lying about her sale of $40,000 worth of ImClone stock, after learning of insider information; and Lil' Kim got a year for lying to a grand jury about an incident outside the headquarters of New York City radio station WQHT 97.1 "Hot 97", an incident involving a gun. Unless Marion, her attorneys and the federal attorneys worked out a deal that would yield the 6 months that has been quoted by the media, her sentence could be longer than Kim's.
Needless to say, 11.12 (Ekaterini Thanou, who has issues of her own, for which an inquiry may strike her down as well) or 11.18 (Tayna Lawrence, should Thanou be forced off the medal stand) will be the slowest winning time since Wyomia Tyus' 1964 gold-medal-winning performance of 11.4 (she ran 11.2 in the heats). And Ms. Bronze (Merlene Ottey, 11.19) will get another, making her the oldest, male or female, in this event.
One does not have to guess twice that her 4x100 and 4x400 teammates in 2000 will be furious with her, because unlike in the Jerome Young situation, she ran in the final! Michael Johnson and his teammates kept their medals because it was a foregone conclusion that the U.S. would have made the final regardless who ran in the heats. Jerome ran in the heats; Marion ran in the finals. Her teammates will not have Michael Johnson's luck in the inquiry that follows.
If she were smart, right now, she'd take a plane to Lausanne, Switzerland (if she can afford it), and go right to Jacques Rogge's office and simply hand over the medals. She'd be well advised not to wait until an official ruling, because even she knows it's going to come, and she'll have to surrender the medals, anyway.
And what of her statistics from 1997 (10.76/21.76) and 1998 (10.65/21.62)? Will she spill the beans on those 2 seasons, or will Trevor Graham close the book for her in his trial?
Now, one wonders if some of the legends of the German Democratic Republic (or any rogue state, at the time) will finally roll over and sing to us.
This post will certainly be updated, as I get more details.