8-year-old who emigrated from Ukraine will soon compete in US national track championships

Updated: Dec. 8, 2020 at 7:06 AM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - He’s an eight year old who moved to the United States about two years ago, unable to speak any English. Now, he’s a top ranked track and field star among his peers.

Artem Temnenko moved to Columbia with his mom and sister back in 2019. Today, his mother, Yana Gray, and stepfather, Tramkeo Gray, say he’s nearly fluent in English and also speaks Russian and Ukrainian. They also say he’s excelling in school and many different sports.

He’s now part of The Storm Track Club, which competes with teams from across the state.

For USA Track and Field, Artem is currently listed as having the third fastest time this season for his age group in the 2000 meter race.

“Just, unbelievable. I didn’t know he could run that fast and when we got him into cross country, we were trying to find some sport to get him into and cross country was in for the season and when he got in, he just excelled in it,” said Artem’s stepfather.

As for Artem, he says, “Every sport that has running in it, it’s usually my favorite sport. Sometimes, but almost every time I’m nervous but I try my hardest and try to win.”

Saturday, December 12, Artem and four of his Storm Track Club teammates will be competing in National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships in Paris, Kentucky.

The Lexington-Richland School District Five Facebook page recently shared this congratulatory post for Artem ahead of this weekend’s competition:

🏅Congratulations to Seven Oaks Elementary MEDIA Magnet School third grader, Artem Temnenko! He will compete in the USA...

Posted by District 5 of Lexington and Richland Counties on Monday, December 7, 2020

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