MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - Former Olympic middle-distance runner Suzy Favor Hamilton has confirmed that she worked as an high-end escort and issued an apology after an exposé about her double life was published on a tabloid Web site.
The three-time Olympian from Stevens Point, Wisconsin tweeted that she became a prostitute because it provided coping mechanisms to deal with struggles in her marriage and her life.
“I realize I have made highly irrational choices and I take full responsibility for them,” she tweeted on Thursday, following a report on The Smoking Gun web site. “I am not a victim here and knew what I was doing.”
The Smoking Gun broke the news with a story that described the 44-year-old earning $600 an hour while working for a Las Vegas escort service during the past year.
Using the alias “Kelly Lundy,” she traveled to cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston with dates, the site said.
“As crazy as I know it seems, I never thought I would be exposed, therefore never hurting anybody,” she tweeted.
She lives in Madison, Wisconsin where she runs a real estate firm with her husband and does motivational speaking and promotional work for the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association and the Disney running series.
On her Twitter feed, she cited depression as one of the causes for her actions and that she was seeking help from a psychologist for the past few weeks.
Favor Hamilton disclosed to the Smoking Gun that her husband, a lawyer and her college sweetheart, knew that she worked as a prostitute and that he tried to stop her.
“He wasn’t supportive of this at all,” she said to the site.
Favor Hamilton ran in the 1992, 1996 and the 2000 Summer Olympics. She also won nine NCAA titles and 14 All-American awards during her illustrious career as a middle-distance runner.
During the 2000 games, Favor Hamilton ran into controversy when a Nike commercial depicting her attempting to outrun an attacker was pulled after the shoe company received complaints that the spot downplayed violence against women.
Favor Hamilton is also remembered for the 2000 games in Sydney for falling during the 1,500-meter final. She revealed to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in July that she purposely fell after realizing she was not going to win the race.
In addition to Nike, she has also been endorsed by Reebok, Oakley and Clairol, according to her site.
“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,” she tweeted.
Reporting By Brendan O'Brien; Editing by David Gregorio