When he was attending Lake Highlands High School, Florian Skilang Temengil, known as “Ski” to his friends, was an impressive athlete.
Classmates might have guessed he had a bright future, but doing what? Football? Track? Shot put? Wrestling? As he grew and worked his way through Lake Highlands Elementary, Junior High and High School, he excelled at all of them, says the senior Florian Temengil, who declares himself “a proud father,” and for excellent reasons.
While Ski was born and raised here in our neighborhood, the elder Temengil is a native of Palau, a small island nation in the western Pacific. Not long after qualifying for state competition in wrestling twice at LHHS — while attending Newman University in Kansas where he was an all american and earned his bachelor’s degree — Ski made his first Olympic bid as a heavyweight wrestler representing Palau at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. For the past eight years he has reigned the Oceania region champion.
Temengil says his son spent time training with a coach in Korea before leaving for Rio July 26.
Last summer Ski reportedly spent time with students at his college alma mater, fueling ambitions and sharing technique, according to his former coach.
Maybe he’ll stop by his Lake Highlands alma mater for some of the same, once the games are over.
Ski “should be the flag bearer for Palau in the opening ceremonies,” his dad says. Those air Friday at 6 p.m.