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Big Ten women's award no longer named after prostitute

Published July 6, 2013 6:17 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Park Ridge, Ill. • The Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year award no longer is named for the Olympic track star from Wisconsin who later acknowledged working as a prostitute.

Big Ten spokesman Scott Chipman said Tuesday that Suzy Favor Hamilton's name was removed from the award.

Minnesota hockey player Amanda Kessel was named the winner last week. Kessel was also the national player of the year after leading the Gophers to an undefeated season and a second straight NCAA title.

Favor Hamilton competed in the Olympics in 1992, 1996 and 2000. The Smoking Gun website in December first reported that Favor Hamilton had worked as a $600-an-hour escort in Las Vegas. She described it as a "coping mechanism" tied to depression and other personal issues.

Favor Hamilton, 44, was the Big Ten's female athlete of the year three straight times beginning in 1988 and one of the most celebrated athletes at Wisconsin. She won seven U.S. national titles, her last in 1999.

Before her double life was revealed, she had been hired for speaking engagements at Disneyland and was pitchwoman for the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association.

Favor Hamilton said in a series of tweets last year that her work as an escort provided an "escape" for her.

"I do not expect people to understand," she tweeted. "But the reasons for doing this made sense to me at the time and were very much related to depression."

Favor Hamilton had told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2012 that she dealt with anxiety, an eating disorder and struggled with postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter.

At the time of that interview, she was doubling as a call girl going by the name "Kelly Lundy."