Oyuna Uranchimeg, an administrative assistant in the Emerging Media Department at St. Thomas, is representing Team USA at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games as a member of the U.S. wheelchair curling team. Uranchimeg was first introduced to curling in 2016, when her friend Kyle Bauman invited her to lunch at the Four Seasons Curling Club in Blaine, Minnesota. She was hooked on the sport from the very first day and has since been named to the national team and has competed on an international level.
Uranchimeg was born in Mongolia, and had grown up dreaming of a chance to visit the U.S. In an interview with SELF magazine she said, "'When you’re told you can’t go somewhere, of course that’s where you want to visit. Every time someone went to study and came back, they made [the U.S.] sound so very exciting."'
In 2000, Uranchimeg obtained a visitor visa and traveled to the U.S. for the first time. It was during that visit when she was part of a serious car accident that paralyzed her from the waist down. During her recovery, she decided that she wanted to continue to live in the U.S., and in 2008 she was able to reunite with her son and adopted daughter as they were granted American citizenship. Uranchimeg takes great pride in her American citizenship as she told the Star Tribune, "This is the country where I built my life, where I raised my kids. My heart is still also in Mongolia, where I was born and raised. But a huge part of me is American."'
Uranchimeg's inspiring story has been covered by media outlets such as the Star Tribune, SELF magazine and Little Things. You can follow along with her Paralympic experience at the USA Curling website.