Now known as Suzy Favor Hamilton following her marriage, the one-time U.S. Olympic track star has admitted to working as a high-priced prostitute in Las Vegas for the last year.
Struggling in her marriage and mired in depression, three-time U.S. Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton coped by turning to a life of prostitution and working for an escort service based in Las Vegas.
“I do not expect people to understand,” Favor Hamilton wrote Thursday in one of a series of posts to her Twitter account after The Smoking Gun website reported on her double life. “But the reasons for doing this made sense to me at the time and were very much related to depression.”
The Smoking Gun said the 44-year-old athlete — who is the most decorated female athlete in NCAA history after winning nine national titles at Wisconsin — has been working for the last year for a Las Vegas escort service that booked her for dates there, as well as in Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago.
One of the country’s best-ever middle-distance runners, Favor Hamilton competed for the U.S. at the Olympics in 1992, 1996 and 2000 but did not win a medal, although she won seven U.S. national titles. She currently lives in Madison, Wis., where, The Smoking Gun reported, she and her husband, Mark, live in a $600,000 home and appear to be in no financial distress based on the website’s review of court and municipal records.
The website reported that Favor Hamilton was marketed by the escort company as her services being available for $600 an hour, $1,400 for three hours or $6,000 for a 24-hour period.
Favor Hamilton, who has appeared in Nike commercials over the years and still does promotional work for Disney, told the website that only her husband was aware of her escort work, but that, “He tried, he tried to get me to stop. He wasn’t supportive of this at all.”
In a July 2012 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article featuring Favor Hamilton, she spoke of giving about 60 motivational speeches annually, raising her daughter, running her realty firm, and doing appearances for Disney and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series.
“I just know I’m happier than I’ve ever been. My life just keeps getting better,” she told the newspaper at the time.
The website reported that Favor Hamilton worked under the alias “Kelly Lundy” but said she told some of her clients about her true identity and suspected one of them outed her. She also told the website that while she was angry at her former client — who is married — for exposing her, she would not stoop to his level and out him in return.
Favor Hamilton, when asked by the website why she would expose her true identity to her clients, said — as a world-class athlete — she was conditioned her entire life to feel as if she was invincible, thus she felt she would never get caught.
Soon after the story appeared online, Favor Hamilton released a series of tweets saying in part that she was “drawn to escorting in large part because it provided many coping mechanisms for me when I was going through a very challenging time with my marriage and my life.”
A nine-time NCAA champion for Wisconsin, Favor Hamilton is the namesake of the Big Ten’s Suzy Favor Athlete of the Year Award, given to the conference’s top female athlete. The men’s award is named U.S. track & field legend Jesse Owens and given annually to the NCAA’s top men’s runner.
Neither Favor Hamilton nor officials from the Big Ten immediately responded to requests from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Favor Hamilton is a three-time outdoor 1,500-meter national champion and a three-time indoor national champion — her last title coming in 1999.
“As crazy as I know it seems, I never thought I would be exposed, therefore never hurting anybody,” she said in one Twitter post.
In another, she says she is seeking psychological care for her problem.
She closes her series of tweets by saying, “I fully intend to make amends and get back to being a good mother, wife, daughter, and friend.”