|Shown here at a race in 2001, Suzy Favor Hamilton was once one of the U.S.'s best distance runners. (Getty Images)|
In a story that has provoked startling headlines and stunned the track-and-field community, three-time U.S. Olympic middle distance runner Suzy Favor Hamilton admitted in a report published Thursday at The Smoking Gun that for the last year she has been working as a "$600-an-hour" Las Vegas escort. (Link includes pictures that might not be safe for work.)
“I take full responsibility for my mistakes. I'm not the victim and I'm not going that route,” Favor Hamilton told TSG. “I'm owning up to what I did. I would not blame anybody except myself. Everybody in this world makes mistakes. I made a huge mistake. Huge.”
An Olympian in 1992, 1996 and 2000, until now Favor Hamilton was most famous for intentionally falling to the track in the 1500 meter final in Sydney when it became clear she could not medal in honor of her late brother, Dan. A former member of the Wisconsin track team, Favor Hamilton was one of the most decorated female runners in NCAA history and has the Big Ten's Female Athlete of the Year Award named in her honor.
Favor Hamilton still lives in Madison, Wisc., with her husband and 7-year-old daughter. A profile of Favor Hamilton that appeared in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in July (and linked by TSG) describes her life as a happy one, with Favor Hamilton having overcome post-partum depression to enjoy her work in a realty business co-owned with her husband and as a motivational speaker. But Favor Hamilton told TSG that she found her escort work -- during which she assumed the alias "Kelly Lundy" -- to be "exciting."
“He tried, he tried to get me to stop," Favor Hamilton told TSG of revealing her escort work to her husband. "He wasn't supportive at all."
Thursday afternoon, Favor Hamilton issued a series of tweets apologizing for her actions:
I realize I have made highly irrational choices and I take full responsibility for them. I am not a victim here and knew what I was doing.— Suzy Favor Hamilton (@favorhamilton) December 20, 2012
I was drawn to escorting in large part because it provided many coping mechanisms for me when I was going through a very challenging— Suzy Favor Hamilton (@favorhamilton) December 20, 2012
time with my marriage and my life. It provided an escape from a life that I was struggling in. It was a double life.— Suzy Favor Hamilton (@favorhamilton) December 20, 2012
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.— Suzy Favor Hamilton (@favorhamilton) December 20, 2012
As crazy as I know it seems, I never thought I would be exposed, therefore never hurting anybody.— Suzy Favor Hamilton (@favorhamilton) December 20, 2012
I have been seeking the help of a psychologist for the past few weeks and will continue to do so after I have put things together.— Suzy Favor Hamilton (@favorhamilton) December 20, 2012
I cannot emphasize enough how sorry I am to anyone I have hurt as a result of my actions and greatly appreciate the support from family— Suzy Favor Hamilton (@favorhamilton) December 20, 2012
and those closest to me. I fully intend to make amends and get back to being a good mother, wife, daughter, and friend.— Suzy Favor Hamilton (@favorhamilton) December 20, 2012
Favor Hamilton has also worked as part of the Disney World-sponsored Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series, in addition to other promotional opportunities.