Apparently not for Suzy Favor Hamilton. She made a name for herself as an Olympian....and as a high paid escort. She was apparently so skilled as an escort that she even ranked #2 on an escort website at one point in time. Go big or go home. While she was touring for Run Disney and the Rock and Roll Race series, she also made arrangements to meet clients on the side. On the down low. Multitasking. Getting the most bang for her buck.
Bad pun, I know.
She didn't just meet clients in Vegas. But Vegas is where most of the action happened.
I don't know who to be more disgusted with--Suzy or her husband. This book left me speechless.
Ok, I'll back it on up. Suzy Favor Hamilton was a top middle distance runner in the 1990s, competing in 3 Summer Olympics. In her final event, she saw she wasn't going to win and faked an injury, falling to the track. She readily admits this.
Yep, she threw the race because she wasn't going to win. Just try and get your head around that one.
After retiring from competition and settling into life in Wisconsin as a partner in her husband's real estate business, Suzy was unsatisfied. Diagnosed with depression, she started taking an antidepressant. For her and Mark's 20th wedding anniversary, she suggested a trip to Las Vegas. The trip included skydiving and a threesome with an escort, both at Suzy's suggestion. She felt a rush from the experience with the escort and suggested to her husband that becoming an escort was something she'd like to try.
And he agreed? My head almost blew off when I read that part.
Suzy blames her promiscuity on bipolar disorder, which she says resulted from the antidepressant she was prescribed. Interestingly, a major side effect of SSRIs is a suppressed libido. Not in this case, it seems.
All Suzy's trips to Las Vegas were made with the knowledge of her husband Mark. I can understand that bipolar disorder leads to acting out in all sorts of ways--excessive spending, drinking and drugs, and sexual promiscuity, but instead of helping Suzy, according to her story, her husband allowed her do just what she wanted. She says he didn't approve, but he knew and he stuck around.
Does this seem odd to you?
Can you say enabler?
Or is Suzy looking for someone to blame?
Clearly she was out of control. I read most of this book with my mouth hanging open. And it's not a well written book but it is a page turner. First I had to try to fathom her husband's complicity. Right now, my husband is trying to wrap his head around my 2 spring races which involve plane tickets and hotel stays. Trips to Las Vegas to have sex with other men? For money? I believe that he might draw the line at that. Although I don't know for sure. I've never tested him on that.
What kind of husband would go along with this?
In the book, Suzy talks about being afraid of failure. First as a runner, and then as a prostitute. On her prostitution journey, her ego got the best of her and she became careless with her clients, who eventually figured out who she was. It was finally a reporter with The Smoking Gun who outed her. On the day the story went public, Suzy convinced her husband to go hiking. While they were driving, she tried to throw herself out of the car. Finally, her husband drew the line, and she got some help.
It takes a lot to get Suzy's husband to stand up to her. I probably should cut him some slack. But this story is just so hard for me to believe on so many levels. There's so much drama and so much blaming of everyone around her, as well as blaming everything on the bipolar disorder. I never felt that she had any regrets or took any responsibility for her behavior.
Initially, I found Hamilton's book to be dragged down by superfluous detail. But as the story moves forward, the storytelling improves, and I found it hard to put the book down. It was like reading a tabloid story or watching a car wreck. You know nothing good is going to come out of this story, right?
Personally, I was disappointed that there was so much detail and glorification of her sexual conquests. Clearly, she was proud of her prowess. She talked about how she wanted to be the top escort in the world.
I would have liked more detail about her life as a collegiate and Olympic athlete. She had so much talent and tons of opportunities with companies that wanted to sponsor her, based on her reputation as a runner. But that's not what this book is about. I will admit that it was fascinating to read about someone who had it all but was so willing to live life on the edge.
Maybe she was so out of control because no one around her threw out a safety net. Everyone just let her do her own thing. It seems like she had so much power over all the people in her life. The whole time I read this book, I kept asking myself why no one tried to intervene.
I should cut Suzy some slack because of her illness. There's probably plenty of blame to go around besides her husband. Her parents who pushed her? The University of Wisconsin for putting her in those easy classes that all the athletes pass? The coach who told her that her breasts were too big for a runner? Her competitors who were possibly doping? Her sponsors? Her doctors? Her pimp?
In the end though, she comes back to the realization that she still has running. After reading this book, I'm not entirely convinced.
"I run now for the freedom it gives me. I run because it feels good. I run because it is good for me--for my heart and for my head. But it isn't all I do. I am still constantly in motion: in my running shoes, on my bike, on my yoga mat, exercise is my drug of choice now....
...In these moments, on the path with my feet hitting the ground, I feel peaceful. I am myself, living the life I want, not the one that others expect from me or the one that I created out of fantasy and confusion. My life now isn't perfect. Far from it. But it is a life of contentment, and for this I am incredibly grateful. "
Life goes on, and now Suzy has become a yoga instructor. She also has said she's decided to devote more time to being a better mother to her young daughter.
I hope so.
I didn't attempt to contact Suzy Favor Hamilton for an interview because there are so many stories about her on the internet, as well as some live interviews. She was featured in Sports Illustrated and People Magazine as well as on 20/20. All these stories are readily available.
Did you read the book? A lot of people told me that after seeing Suzy on the news that they had no desire to read her story. I'm curious about what you think. If you don't have a blog post to link up, feel free to post in the comments. Be sure to check out the other reviews.
Here's the link badge! Link up is at the end of the post. It will be live for 2 weeks, so if you haven't read the book, you've got plenty of time! It's a quick read. Be sure to link back to this post! Remember sharing is caring.
Next month we're shifting gears and reading It was Me All Along by Andi Mitchell. This sweet memoir was written by a young woman who struggles with body image issues and weight loss. It has received great reviews. Should be another good one! Book review and link up will go live on Friday, February 19.
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