Ghanaian Living In Utah Becomes First African To Win Skeleton Event
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A Ghanaian man living in Utah made history by becoming the first African athlete to win a skeleton event. He said he now hopes to win the first-ever winter sport medal for Africa at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic games.
There are ways to measure how fast you’re going, how much you’re lifting, and how many steps you do in a workout session.
You can’t measure is ambition. If you could, Akwasi Frimpong would be off the charts.
“I want to be remembered as the guy who didn’t have much, but gave his all,” he said.
This past weekend, @FrimpongAkwasi became the 1st African athlete to ever win a skeleton race. He's from Ghana, but has lived and trained in Utah since 2008 and was a 2018 Olympian. His goal now is to become the 1st African athlete to win a Winter Olympic medal. pic.twitter.com/KMChKRCOrd
— Alex Cabrero (@KSL_AlexCabrero) March 4, 2020
Frimpong is already an Olympian. He competed in the skeleton event in PyeongChang during the 2018 Winter Olympics. However, he wants more, especially since so many people – an entire continent – are hoping for more.
“I want to win Africa’s first ever Winter Olympics medal,” said Frimpong. “Is it going to be easy? No. But I think if it was easy, anyone could have been doing it.”
He's training hard for @Beijing2022 to represent Ghana and Africa. We tagged along for one of his training sessions and will have his story tonight on @KSL5TV tonight at 6. #ksltv #olympics #utah pic.twitter.com/3D2oYtu2H2
— Alex Cabrero (@KSL_AlexCabrero) March 4, 2020
Frimpong, who has lived and trained in Utah since 2008 and graduated from Utah Valley University, is originally from Ghana.
He made the 2018 Olympics because he was ranked in the Top 60, but also because of a special continental slot.
“I was able to do all the races I needed to do to show that I have the experience to slide. So, I was able to win a spot for Africa,” he said.
However, for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, continental slots no longer exist. That means he must qualify just like everyone else. It also means he is competing against athletes from nations that support a sport like skeleton.
“In Ghana, we don’t have the resources or the facilities, but I’m the kind of person that likes to be challenged, so it’s actually motivating me to work even harder,” he said.
Frimpong spends a lot of his training time at Utah Olympic Park in Park City.
For the past two years, he’s been training as hard as ever.
He even won a skeleton competition in Park City this past weekend to become the first African to ever win a skeleton event in history, and the first Ghanaian to win a winter sport event.
“I take it very seriously to put Africa and Ghana on the map,” said Frimpong.
He also knows a lot of Utahns are cheering for his success.
“Most of my support comes from Utah. Utah has given me so much. It’s where I met my wife and we had a child,” said Frimpong. “It’s beautiful. I love it here and it really motivates me to push even harder.”
Frimpong wants to win for Utah, as well as Ghana and all of Africa. He calls it “The Hope of a Billion.”
“I want to impact everybody out there who has a dream and a goal to go high. Doesn’t matter what it is, business, a teacher, a mother, whatever it is. It’s to go out there and fight for your dreams,” he said.
Frimpong is currently ranked 75th in the world, but Beijing will only have 25 spots for male skeleton athletes.
He knows it’s going to be tough, but he also said the Olympics should be tough and feature the best of the best. He said he’s planning on being one of them.
“I’m the underdog,” he said. “But I want to represent the people and motivate them to do things they might not think are possible. I’m setting my standards as high as possible.”
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