MADISON (WKOW) -- The man who coached former UW-Madison and Olympic athlete Suzy Favor Hamilton as she ascended to unparalleled success in the Big Ten says he supports Favor Hamilton after her stunning revelation she worked as a highly-paid escort.
"I am very sad about it," former UW-Madison track and field coach Peter Tegen tells 27 News.
Smokinggun.com was the first to report Thursday 44-year old Favor Hamilton spent a year with a Las Vegas-based escort service, having sexual liaisons with clients paying $600 an hour.
On Twitter, Favor Hamilton acknowledged her escort work, referenced her depression, and said what she did was a mistaken escape from marital and other struggles, and "a double life."
Favor Hamilton lives near Madison with her husband, Mark Hamilton and their young daughter.
"I have reached out to both Mark and Suzy," Tegen tells 27 News.
Tegen says people should refrain from judgments about Favor Hamilton's actions, and says fascination with the bizarre chapter of an otherwise admired sports hero's life is hurtful.
"I don't really feel that anyone outside really should participate in what I feel is sensationalizing this. This case is sad enough in itself. It's hard on the family. It's hard on anyone involved."
Between 1988-1990, under Tegen's coaching, Favor Hamilton was named Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year three times, and won a host of championships.
The Big Ten's Female Athlete of the Year award now bears Favor Hamilton's name.
Favor Hamilton followed her college career and participation in three Olympics with high-profile affiliations with Disney and other brand names, motivational speaking, and appearances for non-profit groups.
An annual Madison event to benefit children with cancer was dubbed, "Suzy's Run."
Among her affiliations, Favor Hamilton is the spokesperson for the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association.
Association Executive Director Duane Maatz has yet to respond to 27 News on whether Favor Hamilton will continue in that role.
"In my world, I thought I would make a difference some day in this world if I won a gold medal in the Olympics," Favor Hamilton told 27 News in September 2009. "I never won that gold medal. But I realized I can make a difference without winning a gold medal. I can just make a difference in my community, and that can help spread and spread."
Favor Hamilton has not responded to requests for comment from 27 News.
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