Popular Utah resident, Olympian to miss Beijing Games
Dec 30, 2021, 6:41 PM | Updated: 10:24 pm
SALT LAKE CITY – Skeleton racer Akwasi Frimpong who represented Ghana but has lived in Utah for several years, will not be going to the Beijing 2022 Olympics.
Akwasi Frimpong was one of the stars of the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics even though he didn’t win a medal.
“You know, representing Africa, representing Ghana, and representing all the underdogs out there in the world,” Frimpong said.
People loved him because of his story.
Even though Ghana is his home, Frimpong has done a lot in the Beehive State. He went to Utah Valley University, sold vacuums to make ends meet, and trained as hard as anyone to make his Olympic dreams come true.
The 2022 Beijing Olympics were going to be even bigger for him. “My plan heading to the 2022 Olympics was not just to be a participant, just to become the African kid sliding, you know?” he said. “I wanted to be more than that. I wanted to be competitive.”
He trained in Europe, Russia, China, and was in Germany preparing for skeleton races next week when he tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday morning.
“Last night I was three times in bed, like, my whole bed was drenched, sweaty, and fever. I was like 99 and it got to 101,” he said about his illness.
I've been covering @FrimpongAkwasi for about 5 yrs. He's from Ghana but lives in Utah and went to @UVU. Frimpong made the 2018 Olympics in skeleton and was working hard the past 4 yrs to qualify for Beijing 2022 until he tested positive for COVID while competing in Germany today. pic.twitter.com/zFCynATNhS
— Alex Cabrero (@KSL_AlexCabrero) December 30, 2021
Even though he’s vaccinated, that positive test means Frimpong won’t be able to compete in those last few races before Beijing. That means he won’t have enough points to qualify for his second Olympics.
“It’s extremely difficult.”
As always, he was positive, “There are bigger problems in the world than the Olympics. And there are bigger problems in the world than fulfilling your dreams as an athlete,” he said.
Things like his health, wife, and two daughters.
“I was able to do what I was placed on this earth by God, is to inspire the people around me and to motivate people around me.”
He didn’t know what’s next for him professionally, but the rest of us know that you don’t need an Olympics to win a Gold Medal for being a good human.