LOCAL NEWS

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

Apr 21, 2021, 6:17 PM | Updated: Feb 12, 2023, 5:59 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

Local News

Handcuffs in a jail cell. (Ravell Call/Deseret News)...

Michael Houck

Three people attempted to kidnap child with one posing a social worker, police report.

Three people planned to kidnap a child, claiming the father did not have legal custody of them, Vernal police say.

5 minutes ago

The Utah Department of Transportation will shut down Bangerter Highway in both directions from 9800...

Brianna Chavez

Portion of Bangerter Highway in South Jordan to close in both directions all weekend

The Utah Department of Transportation will shut down a portion of Bangerter Highway in South Jordan in both directions from 9800 S to 10400 S from Friday, May 17 at 10 p.m. to Monday, May 21 at 5 a.m.

27 minutes ago

IZU, JAPAN - JULY 27: Haley Batten of Team United States rides during the Women's Cross-country rac...

Alex Cabrero

Park City mountain biker training to compete in her second Olympics

Haley Batten who is on the USA Cycling team, competed in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Now, she's training for Paris.

1 hour ago

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 04:  Sesame Street characters Ernie, Bert, Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Zoe and Cookie M...

Emma Benson

‘Elmo loves you!’ Our favorite red Muppet stars in mental health campaign

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we all deal with stress and different emotions. In January, Elmo asked a simple question online that sparked a huge conversation.

2 hours ago

A psychiatrist at the Huntsman Mental Health is recommending to build a "mental health toolkit."...

Peter Rosen and Emma Benson, KSL TV

Building a mental health toolkit

When life overwhelms you, sometimes there's not just one solution; which is good to have a variety of tools in your "mental health toolkit."

2 hours ago

Photo of Nile Thacker, a tiny tim's toymaker killed in a crash earlier this year....

Emily Ashcraft, KSL.com

Jury finds man guilty of fatal DUI crash that killed toymaker

A man was convicted on Friday of causing a crash that killed a volunteer toymaker while driving under the influence.

2 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

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