Struggling in her marriage and mired in depression, three-time Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton coped by turning to a life of prostitution, 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 Web site 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 has 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.
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. She won seven U.S. national titles.
She resides 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 Web site’s review of court and municipal records.
Favor Hamilton told the Web site 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.”
The Web site 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.
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.
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.”