Susan Katz

Born with spina bifida, Susan walked until the age of 10, when a surgery to fix her spine left her with incomplete paralysis from the waist down.  From that point on, she became a full-time wheelchair user. Having always been interested in sports, Susan's mother took her to a wheelchair basketball practice shortly after her surgery - a moment that changed her life forever.  

Susan learned to love wheelchair basketball and at the end of the season, she took up a second sport, track and field.  Just two months after graduating high school, Susan represented the US Paralympic Team as a Track and Field Athlete at the 1996 Atlanta Games.  After Games, Susan attended the University of Illinois and once again fell in love with the sport of wheelchair basketball.  After years of training and dedication to the sport, Susan made the 2004 Paralympic Games as a wheelchair basketball player, and brought home a gold medal.

She is also an avid triathlete having completed multiple half-Ironman races and one full Ironman race, becoming the first American female wheelchair athlete to complete a full Ironman.  Outside of sport, she is an accomplished communications professional with diverse experience including: working at ESPN and the US Olympic Committee. Much of her work has focused on helping grow the Paralympic movement in the US. She currently works as a recruiter for a staffing agency in downtown Chicago. 

Learning that my own mindset and outlook on life are what determine my success has been one of the most important lessons of my life. Being able to share that message through the Nametags program is such a great way for kids to learn that opportunity exists in all circumstances.”

Highlights

•       2X Paralympian (1996 – Track & Field, 2004 – Wheelchair Basketball)

•       2004 Paralympic Games Gold Medalist – Wheelchair Basketball

•       First American Female Wheelchair Athlete to Complete an Ironman Triathlon

•       3X Ironman 70.3 Handcycle National Champion

•      3X Ironman World Championships Qualifier

•      Graduate of University of Illinois - lettering 4 Years in Wheelchair Basketball

•     Accomplished Communications Professional

More Presenters

Chris Waddell

Chris Waddell

meet Chris
Cambry Kaylor

Cambry Kaylor

meet Cambry
Tucker Dupree

Tucker Dupree

meet Tucker
Lex Gilette

Lex Gilette

meet Lex
Michelle Konkoly

Michelle Konkoly

meet Michelle
Hailey Danz

Hailey Danz

meet Hailey