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Favor Hamilton

December 21, 2012 by  

Favor Hamilton, Olympic athletes are put on a pedestal by millions around the world as they compete for gold. NBC runs sappy personal interest stories on these summer and winter athletes and that is how we remember many of these Olympic stars as they move out of the spotlight. The reality is that the Olympics are usually the pinnacle for these athletes and the fall from the top can sometimes get ugly.

The Smoking Gun revealed Thursday that three-time Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton, 44, worked for a Las Vegas escort service for the past year charging $600 an hour for her services. Her previous claim to fame was deliberately falling during the 2000 Sydney Olympics 1500 meter final when she realized she could not win.

Favor Hamilton is simply the latest athlete to represent her country and then see their reputation take a dramatic fall after the Olympic lights went out.

Track and field is littered with athletes tainted by scandal. It is a brutal sport to make a living in, although Favor Hamilton apparently found financial success after her track career with a real estate business in Madison, Wisc. For every Usain Bolt making $20 million a year, there are thousands of athletes struggling to get by. A survey by the USA Track and Field Foundation found that only 50% of U.S. track athletes who rank among the top in their sport make more than $15,000 from sponsorships, grants and prize money. Yet, the fame and riches at the very top lead to scores of doping scandals in the sport.

Marion Jones became the first woman to ever win five medals at a single Olympics at the 2000 Sydney Games. But she failed a drug test in 2006 and pleaded guilty to federal charges of perjury surrounding her role in the Balco scandal. She was stripped of her medals in 2007 and sentenced to six months in jail the following year. Other medal-winning track stars tainted by drugs include Jones’ former husband Tim Montgomery, Justin Gatlin, Ben Johnson most famously and countless others.

Wrestler Rulon Gardner has faced enough obstacles to last a lifetime since his gold medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics when he defeated Russian Alexander Karelin, who had not lost for 13 years. Gardner survived plane and motorcycle crashes. He got stranded in the freezing wilderness overnight while snowmobiling in 2002 in an ordeal that cost him one of his toes. He appeared on the reality TV show “The Biggest Loser” after ballooning up to 474 pounds. The latest blow for Gardner was a bankruptcy filing in August.

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