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Suzy Favor Hamilton: Big Ten Trophy No Longer Named After Olympian

Image: Suzy Favor Hamilton: Big Ten Trophy No Longer Named After Olympian

By Clyde Hughes   |   Wednesday, 03 Jul 2013 11:58 AM

Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton's name has been erased from the name of the Big Ten's female athlete of the year trophy, the second time in three years the conference found itself pulling a name off an award, the New York Daily News wrote Tuesday.

In 2011, the Big Ten was forced to take longtime Penn State coach Joe Paterno's name off of its Big Ten football championship trophy, ESPN reported, in light of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

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Favor Hamilton was heralded as one of the conference's top athletes during her collegiate years and one of the most decorated middle-distance runners in the U.S., competing in three summer Olympics, the Daily News said.

Her image took a major hit in December when the website The Smoking Gun reported that Favor Hamilton had been working as a $600-an-hour escort in Las Vegas. She told the website that the indiscretion was a “coping mechanism” tied to depression and other personal issues, the Daily News said.

Big Ten spokesman Scott Chipman told the Daily News Tuesday that Favor Hamilton’s name was removed from the award after discussions between the league and Wisconsin.

Favor Hamilton, 44, was the Big Ten’s female athlete of the year three straight times beginning in 1988 and one of the most celebrated athletes at Wisconsin. She won seven U.S. national titles, her last in 1999, said the Daily News.

While not commenting on the removal of Favor Hamilton's name from the female athlete of the year trophy, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany seemed to set the standard in removing Joe Paterno's name off the football championship trophy in 2011.

"The trophy and its namesake are intended to be celebratory and aspirational, not controversial," Delany said of Paterno's name removal in a statement. "We believe that it's important to keep the focus on the players and the teams that will be competing in the inaugural championship game."

The Big Ten currently does not have a name for its female athlete of the year trophy. The male athlete of the year trophy is named after late Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens.

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