A walk around the campus in Madison paints a compelling picture of the revered status she still holds at Wisconsin.
Inside the Kohl Center, where the Wisconsin basketball team plays, Favor Hamilton is remembered on a long wall near the entrance commemorating “great moments in athletics history,” which also includes Heisman winner Ron Dayne and other UW greats.
In another area, where the trophy awarded to her as the 1989-1990 Collegiate Woman of the Year is on display, a plaque beneath it reads, “There’s only one Suzy.” Favor Hamilton is also singled out on the university’s website describing the displays, describing her as “incomparable.”
But when Favor Hamilton was in school, according to two people who knew her then, she was generally regarded as shy and unassuming. Despite that, she had ways of grabbing attention that now have an odd resonance. She was sporadically injured and unable to practice on the track, so to get her cardio work in, she would swim laps in the pool while the men’s team was practicing. While one-piece suits were the norm for women training in an athletic environment, Favor Hamilton would peel off into a head-turning, two-piece bikini.
It wasn’t the last time Favor Hamilton would garner attention for her looks during a career that spanned three Olympics.
She had modeling contracts and was did a photo shoot for the Suzy Favor Hamilton 1997 calendar, which labels her as a “Three-time Olympian ... and more.”
In 2000, she starred in a Nike commercial that’s a send-up of horror movies. Dressed in a sports bra and running shorts, Favor Hamilton is stalked through the woods by a chainsaw-wielding zombie, but escapes by simply outrunning him. Message: “Why sport? You’ll live longer.”
The commercial ran the same year as her last appearance at the Olympics.