Suzy Favor Hamilton, a three-time U.S. Olympian, has revealed that she has spent much of the past year working as a $600-an-hour escort. It's a stunning admission, and a decision that Hamilton now calls a "huge mistake," according to The Smoking Gun.
Since last December, Hamilton has, according to TSG, worked with Haley Heston's Private Collection in Las Vegas, and has gone on engagements in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston. The 44-year-old married mother of one worked under the name "Kelly Lundy," but apparently revealed her true identity to several male clients.
Hamilton responded to Thursday's story with a lengthy response and apology on Twitter:
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. I 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. It provided an escape from a life that I was struggling in. It was a double life.
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. As crazy as I know it seems, I never thought I would be exposed, therefore never hurting anybody. 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. 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 and those closest to me. I fully intend to make amends and get back to being a good mother, wife, daughter, and friend.
The news is an astonishing revelation for a woman who, as TSG notes, runs a real estate brokerage in Madison, Wis.; delivers motivational speeches; and promotes various civic and community organizations. Hamilton said her husband knew of her escort work, but did not support it and asked her to stop. TSG reports that the family is apparently not in financial distress.
Hamilton, who ran at the University of Wisconsin, remains the most highly honored female athlete in NCAA track and field history, so much so that the Big Ten's highest track honor is named after her. She competed in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games, but did not medal. Her most notable Olympic moment came in 2000, when she was leading the 1,500-meter final in Sydney. Her brother Dan had committed suicide the year before, and she sought to medal in his honor. But when she began slipping back in the pack, she fell to the ground.
She has since appeared in advertisements connected with everything from Nike to Oakley. Earlier this year, she spoke honestly about her battles with depression, anxiety, an eating disorder and other health issues.
The Smoking Gun report is a fascinating look not just at the culture in which Hamilton operated, but her own mindset of "invincibility," the idea that she simply didn't believe she would get caught. She referenced Tiger Woods, ensnared in the same trap of sex and secrecy. But she indicated to TSG that she had intended to quit the business even before being discovered.
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