U.S. Olympian’s Secret Life As Las Vegas Escort
DECEMBER 20—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.
While Favor Hamilton (seen at right) has used an alias, “Kelly Lundy,” when working as an escort, she inexplicably shared her true identity with several male clients, believing that her secret was somehow safe with strangers who paid for her company by leaving envelopes stuffed with cash on bathroom vanities in swanky hotels.
When approached by a reporter earlier this month in the lobby of a Las Vegas hotel, Favor Hamilton initially denied any connection with the escort service, Haley Heston’s Private Collection. But Favor Hamilton—who is married to her college sweetheart, a lawyer, and is the mother of a seven-year-old girl—eventually acknowledged her work as “Kelly.”
“I take full responsibility for my mistakes. I’m not the victim and I’m not going that route,” Favor Hamilton said. “I’m owning up to what I did. I would not blame anybody except myself.” She added, “Everybody in this world makes mistakes. I made a huge mistake. Huge.”
Favor Hamilton expressed concern that her story would be “sensationalized” by a reporter. It is hard, though, to imagine how that could occur. The actual events of the ex-Olympian’s past year already seem like the fever dreams of a Lifetime producer who decided to adapt Luis Bunuel’s “Belle de Jour” for basic cable.
Favor Hamilton described the escort business as “exciting,” an illicit midlife diversion from her routine existence, one in which she operates a successful Madison, Wisconsin real estate brokerage with her husband, delivers motivational speeches, and does promotional work for various businesses and groups, including Disney’s running series and Wisconsin’s Potato & Vegetable Growers Association.
She said that only her husband Mark, 44, 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 couple lives in a $600,000 Madison home and appears to be in no financial distress based on a review of court and municipal records.
In a July 2012 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel profile, Favor Hamilton spoke of giving about 60 motivational speeches annually, raising her daughter, running her realty firm, and doing appearances for Disney and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series. “I just know I’m happier than I’ve ever been. My life just keeps getting better,” she said.
But she also spoke of her life’s darker precincts.
Favor Hamilton told of suffering postpartum depression after her child’s 2005 birth and how she had been prescribed the antidepressant Zoloft, which has allowed her to “feel better than I’ve ever felt.” Additionally, she told reporter Gary D’Amato how her brother Dan committed suicide in 1999, a year before she ran for the gold medal in the 1500-meter final at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium. She led that race with 200 meters to go, but when other competitors began to pass her, Favor Hamilton recalled, she intentionally tumbled to the track, ashamed that she could not medal in honor of her late sibling.
Sitting on an outdoor bench off the Las Vegas Strip earlier this month, Favor Hamilton referenced her athletic career when a reporter asked why she thought her identity could remain cloaked—especially since she spoke openly with certain johns about her real name, running career, and business pursuits.
Favor Hamilton answered that as a world-class athlete she was conditioned to believe she was invincible, and that doubts and concerns were counterproductive thoughts. During a subsequent conversation she brought up Tiger Woods’s tumultuous fall, saying that, “I mean, he’s the biggest athlete ever. He obviously thought he could never get caught.”
Favor Hamilton also blamed herself for being “too trusting.” She expected other participants in the insular escort business—where men seeking sex are called “hobbyists” and women selling it are “providers”—to honor a code of silence. Though she seemed entirely sincere, it was nonetheless a credulous notion that client and escort were morally bound by some implicit pledge of omerta.
Why would her secret be safe with guys about whom she knew nothing (except that many were paying for sex while their spouse was back home)?
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