Ted Chen, Jose Hernandez, Sergio LeLevier
LA actress-turned-athlete Katy Sullivan is set to compete in the London Paralympics. She says her endeavor into sports has taught her what makes her different also makes her extraordinary. Ted Chen reports for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Sept. 4, 2012
Katy Sullivan was born without legs, but that didn't stop her from becoming a successful actress, guest staring on NBC's My Name is Earl, and working with Oscar winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman, but she didn't stop there.
On Wednesday, Sullivan is set to compete in the Paralympics in London as the top American in the women's 100 meters.
She admits being an Olympian still feels kind of new.
"At times I feel like I'm playing an athlete," Sullivan said, "because it's not something that I'm necessarily familiar with."
The running requires putting on a different set of prosthetic legs, similar to the kind worn by Olympian Oscar Pistorius, who Sullivan says is an inspiration.
"The running legs are specifically designed to move you quickly in a forward propulsion, so there's no heel. There's nothing to rest back on," said Sullivan, an Alabama native who moved to LA in 2004.
"So exciting to have more people excited about Paralympic sports and what people are doing, and I think Oscar really let people know what's possible."
A terrible fall knocked Sullivan out of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but bounced back, physically and emotionally. Now Sullivan is looking forward to running for the gold medal in London.
She says being an actress is still her first love, but being an athlete has helped her love herself.
"It's made me get to a new level of appreciation, for this is the person that I am. I was born into this body for a very specific reason," Sullivan said, "and what I've realized is the things that make us different are the things that ultimately make us extraordinary in life."