US athlete Suzy Favor Hamilton admits working as a prostitute
Married former US athlete Suzy Favor Hamilton admits to double life working for escort agency
Three-time American Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton says she coped with depression and a troubled marriage by turning to a life of prostitution.
Favor Hamilton acknowledged on Twitter she had worked as an escort following a report on The Smoking Gun website about her double life.
"I do not expect people to understand," Favor Hamilton tweeted. "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 had been working for the past year for a Las Vegas escort service that booked her for dates there, as well as in Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago.
The website said she charged US$600 an hour for her services. One of the country's best-ever middle-distance runners, Favor Hamilton competed for the US at the Olympics in 1992, 1996 and 2000, but did not win a medal.
Until now, the most dramatic public moment of her life was her fall in the final of the 1,500 metres at Sydney in 2000, when she hit the track with 70 metres to go.
She blamed dehydration, but later admitted she fell on purpose after a panic attack caused by the pressure on her to win.
Favor Hamilton lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where, The Smoking Gun reported, she and her husband Mark live in a US$600,000 home and appear to be in no financial distress.
She said only her husband was aware of her escort work, but admitted: "He tried, he tried to get me to stop. He wasn't supportive of this at all." 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 leaked it.
Soon after the story appeared online, Favor Hamilton released a series of tweets saying 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".
The Orange County Register reported that Disney cancelled a scheduled appearance by Favor Hamilton at the August 2013 expo during the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend.
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.
Big Ten spokesman Scott Chipman said the conference had no comment. Las Vegas police have no record of any arrests or contact with Favor Hamilton.
"As crazy as I know it seems, I never thought that I would be exposed, therefore never hurting anybody," she said in one of her Twitter posts.
In another, she says she is seeking psychological treatment 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."