The Story Of How An Olympian Wound Up As A High-Priced Escort Is The Craziest Thing You’ll Read Today

  • Glenn Davis

If you’ve been following the Olympics for a long time, you probably know the name Suzy Favor Hamilton, if only vaguely. She never medaled, but she competed for Team USA in 1992, 1996, and 2000, was an outrageously successful runner in college before that, and appeared in tons of ads. Odds are, you’d hear her name and think, “Hmm, yeah, sounds familiar, I remember that from somewhere… hmm…”

Well, that uncertainty’s about to change, thanks to a story today in The Smoking Gun. First, the big takeaway:

A three-time U.S. Olympian whose illustrious running career has included a Nike TV commercial, a swimsuit calendar, and ongoing promotional work for Disney has spent the last year doubling as a $600-an-hour call girl, an astounding secret life that she now regretfully calls a “huge mistake.”

Beginning last December, Suzy Favor Hamilton, 44, has worked with one of Las Vegas’s premier escort services, booking scores of “dates” in Sin City and other U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston.

There’s really nothing I can add to any of this. The Smoking Gun’s story has tons of other details – Favor Hamilton (she’s married with a child, for the record) said she got involved in the escort business because it was “exciting,” and her travel schedule – she does many motivational speaking and promotional engagements – allowed her to see clients around the country. And those clients liked her. They knew her as Kelly, and according to reviews on this site (probably NSFW), she was one of the best in the Las Vegas area. Favor Hamilton lives in Wisconsin, but the escort service she worked with is Vegas-based – and for the record, prostitution isn’t legal in Las Vegas, though it is in some other parts of Nevada.

But this all was probably going to come out eventually regardless of the Smoking Gun story – because apparently, Favor Hamilton actually shared her true identity with some clients. She mentioned being “too trusting” as one reason she did so, but that only someone “in that world” could fully understand her situation. And if this all seems too wild to fully believe (we wouldn’t blame you)… Favor Hamilton tweeted about the story herself earlier. Here’s what she said, in full:

The Smoking Gun made mention of this story about Favor Hamilton from earlier this year, which detailed her struggles with depression, an eating disorder, and personal tragedy (her brother committed suicide in 1999). It was hard to know those details and not attempt some armchair psychology about why she got into the escort business to begin with, but armchair psychology is just that – speculations from people like me who ultimately don’t know a damn thing. That said – Favor Hamilton saying the escorting was related to her depression wasn’t a shock.

I don’t want to sound preachy about any of this (this tweet about the story put me on high alert for preachiness, including from myself). Ultimately, beyond this being a stunning, newsworthy development and feeling obligated to weigh in on it, this doesn’t impact me – it impacts Favor Hamilton, her husband, her daughter. (Her husband being aware of her escort work was one of the more surprising sub-revelations of the Smoking Gun story; his displeasure at it was… less so.) Who am I to be the one acting like she needs to undergo some kind of public shaming?

In fact, what struck me about the comments below the Smoking Gun story was the non-preachiness of many of them. A sampling:

I see nothing wrong with this at all. Her body, her choice.

Why would she need counseling? She obviously was of sound mind and knew what she was doing. She clearly accepted it and owns up to her actions.

So what is the problem here? The problem is puritanical attitudes. Prostitution is a business. If clients are ready to pay her $600.00 an hour for services then yay for her. You go lady.

Of course, then a few people pointed out the issue complicating everything here isn’t that Favor Hamilton was doing it at all; it’s that she was doing it while married with a young child. Which, yeah, she said in those tweets above what a huge issue that was. But beyond that, again: not my family, not my place to wade into the moral morass – especially not when I tend to side with those who think it’d be more beneficial for everyone involved to just make prostitution legal, and at least be able to establish some kind of regulatory framework around something that’s clearly going to exist anyway.

But that’s beside the ultimate point, which is that there’s really only one conclusion I feel completely comfortable drawing from this story. And it’s a conclusion I’ve already seen shared, as a response to the tweet I linked earlier criticizing the tone of the Smoking Gun story. So I’ll just post it here and nod in agreement, because…

Photos via Eat Wisconsin Potatoes and The Smoking Gun