Marketing | Sports Sponsorships

Nike Dumps 3x Olympian After Discovering Her Sex Work

The story of Suzy Favor Hamilton and the implosion of her sponsorships

Sean Kernan
5 min readJun 15, 2021


Attractive woman staring seductively while holding a glass of wine.
Editorial Rights purchased via Adobe Stock Photos

Suzy Favor Hamilton was getting into constant fights with her husband. She’d developed a strange attachment to her daughter, refusing to put her down. She was acting irrational and was prone to huge mood swings and fits of anger.

Her husband thought it might be postpartum depression and urged her to get help. She eventually did and was put on anti-depressants. This seemingly therapeutic decision would be the harbinger of great chaos in her life. And would eventually cost her all of her sponsorships.

How Things Escalated and Then Exploded

Like many eventual Olympians, Suzy showed beaming early promise in her sport.

She was a distance runner, who swept her events at the local level. Eventually, she was a national champion and, at one point, the most decorated collegiate athlete in history. Her accomplishments could fill paragraphs. She is one of the only U.S. women to run 1500 meters in under four minutes. Notably, she competed in the three Olympics, her final appearance at the Sydney Games in 2000.

Suzy running a race.
Suzy running at the National Championships. Wikimedia Commons

After a life spent competing, she retired and decided to start a family with her husband Mark. After the birth of their first child, and her departure from sports, her behavior started to spiral out.

She was finally put on anti-depressants by a psychiatrist. This was extremely problematic: as she would later learn, she actually had bipolar disorder. She never disclosed to her doctor that bipolar disorder ran in the family and that her brother had committed suicide from it years prior.

Anti-depressants can lift the floor on the lows of bipolar people, but they can also open up the ceiling on the highs. Bipolar people are prone to manias: extremely energetic, almost like they are high but more delusional and detached from reality. Bipolar is also strongly correlated to…



Sean Kernan

Always on the hunt for a good story. That guy from Quora. Writing out of Tampa, Florida.