By Roxanna Scott, USA TODAY Sports
Three-time Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton sent shock waves through the running community Thursday by admitting she led a double life, secretly working as a call girl who earned $600 an hour for a Las Vegas escort service.
In a story first reported by The Smoking Gun, the 44-year-old wife and mother from Wisconsin described her call girl work as "exciting." She used an alias but revealed her identity to several clients, The Smoking Gun wrote. She said her husband, Mark Hamilton, knew of her work as a call girl in the last year but didn't support it.
After news of the story spread, Favor Hamilton wrote on Twitter that she made "highly irrational choices and I take full responsibility."
"I am not a victim here and knew what I was doing," she wrote, adding the escort business provided coping mechanisms during a challenging time in her marriage. "I do not expect people to understand, but the reasons for doing this made sense to me at the time and were very much related to depression."
Sports officials expressed shock. "There's an old expression, 'You're as sick as your secrets.' This is a big one," said Nancy Hogshead-Makar, senior director of advocacy for the Women's Sports Foundation, while offering her condolences to Favor Hamilton. The foundation studies how sports influences girls' lives, including sexual behavior. "It is the exact opposite of this behavior," Hogshead-Makar said.
USA Track and Field and the U.S. Olympic Committee had no comment. Calls to Favor Hamilton's real estate agency in Madison were not returned.
One of the most decorated middle-distance runners in NCAA history, she won nine national titles for Wisconsin. After being Big Ten female athlete of the year three times, the conference named the award after her. The Big Ten declined to comment.
Favor Hamilton went on to make the U.S. Olympic team in the 1,500 in 1992 and 2000 and in the 800 in 1996.
Considered a medal contender in the 1,500 final at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Favor Hamilton collapsed on the last lap. She later told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that she fell on purpose because she wasn't going to win a medal in honor of her brother, who had committed suicide.
Favor Hamilton was paid to make appearances at Rock 'n Roll Marathon events to teach runners as part of its legends program. Tracy Sundlun, senior vice president of Competitor Group, said it had not been discussed whether she would continue. "My guess is no," said Sundlun, who has known Favor Hamilton for almost 30 years.
Said Sundlun: "Other than this one step off the pier, this is a truly classy person."
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