ONE of America's best ever female middle-distance runners has admitted becoming a $600-a-night (€455) prostitute after her career ended.
Suzy Favor Hamilton, 44, a married mother who represented America at three Olympic Games, said she turned to prostitution while she was suffering from depression and marriage problems.
She was working as an estate agent but led a double life in the employ of a high-class escort service for the past year, attending appointments in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago. Her secret was exposed by The Smoking Gun website.
In a series of posts on her Twitter account the former athlete who appeared at the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympics said she had made a "huge mistake", adding: "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."
Favor Hamilton did not win an Olympic medal but held seven US national titles in her career. She subsequently worked as a motivational speaker and runs a real estate company in Wisconsin.
She lives with her husband in a $600,000 (€454,920) home in Wisconsin and is apparently not in any financial distress. She said her husband was aware of her escort work. She said: "He tried to get me to stop. He wasn't supportive of this at all."
Favor Hamilton worked under the alias 'Kelly Lundy' and told some of her clients about her true identity. She suspected one of them leaked it.
The former runner said she was "drawn to escorting because it provided many coping mechanisms for me when I was going through a very challenging time with my marriage and my life.
"As crazy as I know it seems, I never thought I would be exposed, therefore never hurting anybody. I fully intend to make amends and get back to being a good mother, wife, daughter, and friend."
She is now seeking the help of a psychologist.