A three-time Olympian has admitted leading a double life as an escort after a client exposed her secret to a website.
US runner Suzy Favor Hamilton apologised on Thursday after a report by The Smoking Gun website said she had been working as a prostitute in Las Vegas since last December.
Everybody in this world makes mistakes. I made a huge mistake. Huge.
The 44-year-old married mother-of-one lives in Madison, Wisconsin. The Smoking Gun reported she had been working for the last year for an escort service.
Fall from grace ...Suzy Favor Hamilton lies on the track after taking a tumble in the final of the Women's 1500-metre event at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Photo: Mal Fairclough and Julian Andrews
Despite using the name ’Kelly Lundy’ as she advertised her services through Haley Heston’s Private Collection, her double life has been revealed after she told clients about her real identity, believing there was an unwritten rule they would not speak out.
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."
On her online profile, Favor Hamilton wrote: ‘‘Well, after my first date, I was hooked, and have been doing my best to visit Las Vegas as often as my schedule allows [I run my own business in my real world life].’’
In action ... Suzy Favor Hamilton out for a run in July this year. Photo: AP
''I am petite, and very fit as I am a workout fanatic! I love to ski, run marathons, bike and hike and I take pride in taking care of my body.''
Favor Hamilton told The Smoking Gun: ''I take full responsibility for my mistakes. I’m not the victim and I’m not going [down] that route. 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''
A middle-distance runner, Favor Hamilton competed for the US at the Olympics in 1992, 1996 and 2000 but did not win a medal. At the Sydney Games, she fell over before reaching the finish line in the final of the women’s 1500-metre event when she realised she could not win.
Suzy Favor Hamilton dances at the finish line after completing a half-marathon in November. Photo: AP
She won seven US national titles. She went on to record a Nike TV advert, a swimsuit calendar and carry out Disney promo work.
Favor Hamilton said her husband, Mark, knew of her secret work.
''He tried to get me to stop. He wasn’t supportive of this at all,’’ she said.
In an interview, The Smoking Gun asked Favor Hamilton how, given her public profile, she thought she could avoid detection.
She explained that as an athlete, she was trained to believe she was invincible, and blamed herself for being too trusting.
Of the man she suspected of revealing her secret, Favor Hamilton said: ‘‘He totally broke all the rules by outing me.
''I don’t want to be like him. Because he is scum. And I will not become scum to make myself feel good.
''I will not do it. I would suffer rather than go that route of being vindictive.''
- AP and theage.com.au