Kearns Olympian Trains Hard To Become ‘Hope Of A Billion’

Apr 21, 2021, 6:17 PM | Updated: 8:09 pm

KEARNS, Utah — For athletes, the only thing better than being an Olympian is being an Olympian twice. One Utah man hopes to do just that in Beijing next year, even though he feels the weight of an entire continent on his shoulders.

He could have taken it easy. He could have said it was too rainy and cold, however, Akwasi Frimpong knew somewhere else in the world, his competitors haven’t made excuses. 

“I have to dig really deep and I have to work extra hard,” he said. “So, I’m setting the tone every single day like it’s a new day.” 

He has done this nearly every day because he’s hoping to make the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, even though he already competed as a skeleton racer in the 2018 Winter Olympics. 

“It’s actually more fun now because I’m getting better in the sport. I’m learning more, and when you’re hitting less walls and you’re going more straight, it becomes more fun,” said Frimpong with a laugh. 

He trains often at the Kearns High School track where his warm-up routines are more intense than many people’s regular workouts.

Frimpong then runs with his skeleton sled while practicing jumping on it as if he were on ice. 

He has spent the past few months training with the Russian Skeleton Olympic Team in Europe, since many of North America’s sliding tracks have been closed due to COVID-19 concerns. 

Since 2018, his world ranking has continued to improve 

“I have to work for it. I have to work extremely hard for it,” he said. “But I’m doing really well.” 

Frimpong graduated from Utah Valley University and has lived in Utah for years, but he represents his home country of Ghana.  

He’s planned to become the first African to ever medal in a Winter Olympic Games. He called it the hope of a billion. 

“There’s a lot of people counting on me — 1.2 billion people in Africa and around the world, too, so it’s been fun,” he said. 

If that’s not motivation enough, Frimpong said he’s also doing all of this to be an example to others who’ve been told they can’t do something, no matter what it is.

“I do it for everybody, not only just Africans, but also people all over the world, underdogs that have dreams. People who were told their dreams are unattainable or it’s not possible. I like to be that example,” said Frimpong. 

He expressed his gratitude to Utahns who have pretty much adopted him as one of their own, even if he does represent another country in the Olympics.

“It means a lot,” he said. “To see so many people support a kid from Ghana, it shows the humanity. It shows how people are proud of each other, how people are supportive of each other. We live in a world where sometimes we forget that.” 

There is no doubt Frimpong hasn’t forgotten that. 

No matter how rainy or cold it is, or even if his wife gave birth to their second daughter just the day before, he’s training. 

“Number one supporter. She’s really the MVP, basically,” said Frimpong of his wife. “I’m very blessed to have her in my life, to have such a great woman who is so supportive.”

That support helped him focus on his training. 

The hope of a billion has less than a year to go until the Beijing Games.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Uniting Utah

Winter Vinecki of Team United States reacts during the Women's Freestyle Skiing Aerials Qualificati...
Debbie Worthen, KSL TV

Park City’s Winter Vinecki raises awareness for prostate cancer

Freestyle aerialist skier Winter Vinecki moved to Park City when she was 13 years old to start skiing, four years after her dad passed away from prostate cancer. She says competing isn't all about herself; she does it for a greater cause.
12 months ago
Cole McDonald says he finally feels comfortable in the company of the world's best skiers. (KSL TV)...
Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

Park City’s Cole McDonald qualifies 5th in freestyle run 

Park City's Cole McDonald is already having the time of his life in his first Olympics this week in Beijing. 
1 year ago
Hannah Soar, an Olympic women’s mogul skier, trained in Murray at Intermountain Healthcare’s TO...
Aley Davis, KSL TV

Olympic Mogul Skier Hannah Soar trains at Intermountain Healthcare’s Sports Science Lab 

22-year-old Hannah Soar is making her Olympic debut this year as a U.S. women’s mogul skier. 
1 year ago
MyKayla Skinner of Team United States poses with the silver medal following the Women's Vault Final...
Jeremiah Jensen & Keira Farrimond, KSL TV

Silver Lining To Silver Medal: MyKayla Skinner Reacts To Comeback Olympic Moment

Skinner's path to the podium was unconventional, to say the least, but how she got there really doesn't matter. What matters is that she seized the moment she was given and showed she deserved to be there.
2 years ago
Olympic shooter Alexis Lagan. (Used by permission, Alexis Lagan)...
Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

University Of Utah Graduate Shooting For Olympic Gold In Tokyo 

Recent University of Utah graduate, Alexis Lagan, said she was fully prepared to begin her Olympic journey. 
2 years ago
Eddie Alvarez (KSL TV)...
Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

Former Utah Baseball Player Will Lead Team USA Into Olympic Stadium 

A former baseball player at Salt Lake Community College was chosen as one of the two flag-bearers who will lead Team USA into the Tokyo Olympic Stadium during Friday’s opening ceremonies. 
2 years ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Kearns Olympian Trains Hard To Become ‘Hope Of A Billion’