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Former Olympic runner admits she spent last year as paid escort in Las Vegas

Dec 20, 2012, 1:41 PM EDT

SuzyFavor-Hamilton Getty Images

Suzy Favor Hamilton is a three-time Olympian who ran middle distances in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Summer Games. You may also know her as winner of nine NCAA running titles for the University of Wisconsin, or her promotional work for Nike and Disney. She’s also married and has a young daughter — but on Wednesday, incredibly, she admitted that she had been leading a secret double life.

Favor Hamilton has admitted to the web site The Smoking Gun that for the past year she has been working as a $600-an-hour call girl, a decision she said was totally hers, but now realizes “was a big mistake.” She said as much today in a lengthy series of messages 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.”

Favor Hamilton, who runs a real estate business in Wisconsin with her husband, has faced an ongoing battle with depression and other health issues going back to her Olympic days. According to TSG, her problems reached a tipping point last December when she began working for Haley Heston’s Private Collection in Las Vegas, where she went on engagements in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston. The 44-year-old worked under the name Kelly Lundy, but apparently thought it would be OK to reveal her real identity to some clients.

That wasn’t a very wise choice either. A reporter confronted her in a Las Vegas casino recently, and she eventually admitted her secret.

Favor Hamilton did not medal in any of her Olympic races, but led the 1,500-meter final in Sydney in 2000 before fading back and then falling. Her brother Dan had committed suicide the year before, and she said she wanted to medal in his honor.

Her conditioned worsened several years later after the birth of her daughter, Kylie.

Is there anything left to say here than we wish her well? It seems like she’s taken the next big step toward getting her life back in order, and I’m really rooting for her to succeed.