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Groups re-evaluate ties to Suzy Favor Hamilton after shocking admission

Groups re-evaluate ties to Suzy Favor Hamilton after shocking admission

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Organizations were re-evaluating their ties to former Olympic runner Suzy Favor Hamilton Friday after it was revealed that the Madison-area resident had been living a secret life as a high-priced prostitute.

Spokesmen for the UW-Madison School of Education, the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association, Foot Locker and the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series all said they were reconsidering Favor Hamilton's promotional work for their groups in light of the bizarre revelation.

Favor Hamilton's self-described "double life" was revealed Thursday by The Smoking Gun website. In tweets and an email with the Wisconsin State Journal, she admitted the explosive story was largely true.

The Smoking Gun reported that Favor Hamilton, who ran in three Olympics and won nine NCAA championships for the UW-Madison, had been working as a $600-an-hour escort under the name of "Kelly" through a Las Vegas-based agency. She called the episode a "huge mistake" brought on by a lifelong struggle with depression.

Peter Henkes, who runs Foot Locker's Midwest regional running series, said it's unlikely Favor Hamilton would be allowed to work — even as a volunteer — for company events involving children. He said Favor Hamilton had appeared as a volunteer in numerous Foot Locker events, often mentoring elite high-school runners.

"Things will never be the same," Henkes said. "Unfortunately some bad decisions have hurt not only her but kids in the future because she can't be that role model again."

Henkes, who considers Favor Hamilton a friend, said she normally has a calendar filled with motivational speeches, clinics and charity races, and that likely will now end.

"There is not a person in my opinion who has given more back to the sport of distance running than she has," Henkes said. "That's why it's so tragic. We're losing Suzy."

Duane Maatz, executive director of the Wisconsin potato and vegetable growers' group, said his organization was re-evaluating its contractural relationship with Favor Hamilton, who had served as a promoter for the Antigo-based group since 2011.

"We're deeply sorry to hear about Suzy Favor Hamilton's struggles," Maatz said. "We wish her the best going forward and hope she finds stability."

The UW-Madison School of Education has worked with Favor Hamilton for "several years" in a one-week summer camp to encourage middle school-age students to pursue college, Associate Dean Dawn Crim said. Favor Hamilton had been scheduled to lead the "Movin' Minds" camp in July. Her name was on the camp's website Thursday, but by Friday it had been removed.

"We'll be evaluating what we want to do going forward regarding her status at a later time," Crim said.

Favor Hamilton's role with the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series also will likely end, spokesman Dan Cruz said. Cruz said the popular runner had participated in four or five health and fitness expos for the organization in the past year.

"Certainly there's no foreseeable plans to have her make any appearances in the future," Cruz said, adding, "It's going to be tough for anybody to work with her in a professional capacity for a long time."

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