Brian Lowe

Suzy Favor Hamilton recalls the "light bulb" moment when she decided to become an escort

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September 11, 2015 12:20 PM

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Three-time track and field Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton is opening up about her double life as a Las Vegas call girl.

In a sneak peek of the 20/20 interview that airs Friday, Hamilton came clean about her past, talking about how she staged her fall at the 2000 Sydney Games and her quick transition into prostitution.

“The whole entire world was watching me,” Hamilton said of the 2000 Sydney Games, as her Olympic dreams were dashed. “That dream of having an Olympic medal was gone and instead of finishing the race, like most runners would, I told myself ‘just fall’ and I fell immediately, it just happened like that.”

Suzy Favor Hamilton
Brian Lowe

In the advance clip from the interview, which aired Friday morning on Good Morning America, Hamilton, 47, explained she fell into a downward spiral.

“I pretended I was injured and I remember thinking, again, ‘You’re the worst person in the world. Look at what you just did.’ ”

Her self-worth on the floor, she and her husband Mark returned to Wisconsin to start a real estate business and a family but Hamilton’s mood swings became epic.

“I saw anger for the first time in her,” her husband told Vargas.

Feeling she was in a rut, Hamilton suggested a wild 20th anniversary celebration in 2011 that involved a trip to Las Vegas, skydiving, and a threesome with an escort – an experience that made her feel alive.

“That was that light bulb moment in my head, ‘Wow, why shouldn’t I get paid for sex?’ ”

It was a tipping point for Suzy, who assumed the name Kelly Lundy and began a double life that, for a time, she found thrilling. “One day I’d run a half marathon in the morning, in a different state, hopped in an airplane, got to Vegas, had five appointments.”

“By five appointments, you mean…” asked Vargas.

“Five different clients,” Hamilton said.

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“It was a six-month process from the threesome to becoming an escort,” Hamilton told PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “Admittedly, it was an extreme step. I presented it to [Mark] as a fantasy. It would be just one or two times with their top clients. It would be very discreet and low-risk. There was no way I was going to get caught. I know it was crazy. He’ll say it was crazy and he shouldn’t have ever even agreed to it. If he had known I was bipolar? Absolutely not.”

But her secret was made public when a reporter stumbled upon her tale, causing Hamilton to seek professional help.

Once she was diagnosed as bipolar, the former Olympian realized her mental illness was a cause of the risky behavior. She said she’d previously been misdiagnosed with depression and the anti-depressant she’d been prescribed fueled her erratic behavior.

“My bipolar was driven toward sex. It could have been driven towards drugs and alcohol, or gambling. I found sex was the biggest high to fuel my mania, which is common with bipolar people,” Hamilton said.

Her new memoir Fast Girl, out Sept. 14, chronicles her battle with mental illness and her suicidal thoughts.

Now on the right medication and with a team of mental health professionals aiding in her recovery, Hamilton said she’s repairing her marriage with her husband. The couple have a 10-year-old daughter, Kylie.

Elizabeth Vargas’ 20/20 interview with Suzy Favor Hamilton airs Friday at 10 p.m. (ET) on ABC.

For more on Hamilton’s story, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now

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