Wausau wheelchair curler to compete for Team USA at the World B Championship in FinlandSubmitted: 11/06/2019
Story By Mazie Vincent

Wausau wheelchair curler to compete for Team USA at the World B Championship in Finland
WAUSAU - America's wheelchair curling team will compete on the world stage at the end of the month.

Five athletes from across the country were chosen to represent the U.S.

One of them grew up right here in the Northwoods and now lives and curls in Wausau.

Team USA wheelchair curling comes to Northern Wisconsin once a year.

"This is the gem of the world when it comes to curling facilities," said National Paralympic Curling Coach Rusty Schieber.

It's also a chance for U.S. wheelchair curler Matt Thums to welcome his team on his home ice.

"I moved to Wausau ten years ago and started curling eight years ago. I fell in love with the sport and have been hooked ever since," Thums said.

Thums grew up in Prentice and now competes on one of the world's largest stages. This is his second year on the USA Worlds team.

"I knew it was a way to curl competitively and maybe make it to the Paralympics someday," Thums said.

Team USA welcomed Team Canada this weekend as both prepare for the World B Championships in Finland in late November.

"We found our identity of how we want to play I think we are gelling pretty well," Thums said.

"The strong suit of this team is their team dynamics, comradery and their friendships among one another," Schieber said.

National Paralympic curling coach Rusty Schieber said Thums jump-started those strong suits.

"His role on the team above and beyond playing the game is being that individual who knows what to say at the right time, to build the team up and bring back their comfort level or make them smile or chuckle," Schieber said.

Being a motivator comes easy for Thums who learned a lot about himself since getting injured back in 2005.

"It becomes a passion and a passion is a goal, the goal to become something. You just got to get out and do it. You can't just sit home and wish, you got to try it," Schieber said.

Thums dedicates his time for the love of the sport but most importantly for the red, white and blue.

"It's pride. The United States means a lot to me and a lot to my teammates. Seeing the flag, putting the flag on, it's a sense of accomplishment and pride and sort of a way to serve our country."

The Unites States will need to make the top three in the B Championships in Finland at the end of November to qualify for Worlds in Switzerland in March 2020.

Matt Thums is fundraising to help offset travel, food and other expenses that come along with the sport.

If you are interested in donating, you can contact the Wausau Curling Center. 

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