“It’s a global village and COVID-19 has taught us all to think harder and smarter and has also given us more ways to appreciate our humanity, so when the opportunity presented itself for me to go with Russia on my journey to get to Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics to once again represent Ghana — I took it.“
The first African male skeleton athlete from Ghana — Akwasi Frimpong — will not let anything stop his efforts at proving a point for Africa and the black race in his quest to leave a mark on the Winter Olympics, even if it means joining team Russia for training in Sochi.
“Beijing will be my second appearance at the Winter Olympics,” said the Ghanaian who finished 30th in Pyeongchang 2018 where he first represented Ghana, “I’ve been to Russia before in November of 2019, the facilities and experience there was great for me, the weather there also prepares me mentally and physically for 2022. This is why I’m happy to be back in Russia to train with and learn from their great team,” Frimpong said to TheAfricanDream.net in a phone interview from Russia.
Frimpong also told TheAfricanDream.net that he is thankful to Elena Anikina, who is President of the Russian Bobsleigh Federation for the opportunity to train with team-Russia when he said: “I met Elena last year, she has such a sweet spirit that is full of encouragement. Thanks to her and everyone in Russia for believing in me. My big thanks also go out to Ghanaians all over for supporting my journey — we are doing this for Africa.“
Alpine skier Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong from Ghana was the first Ghanaian winter olympian in 2010 when he represented Ghana at the Vancouver games in Canada. Following in his tracks, Frimpong became only the second Ghanaian athlete to participate at the Winter Olympics 8yrs down the line and first to participate in skeleton sport.
Skeleton is a winter sliding sport in which a person rides a small sled known as a skeleton bobsled (or -sleigh) down a frozen track while lying face down and head-first in a race against time. “The race always involves a single rider, and when I lay on a sled, I think of two things, beating time and giving a billion people on the continent of Africa hope,” Frimpong told TheAfricanDream.net.
“…I feel this way not just for Africans, but for every black person in the diaspora as well as anyone anywhere watching me, that I am their hope, and they can use my life as an example to defy their odds. In a way also, these people are my hope too. I do it for them, so we are in this together anyway. 2018 was to get first-hand experience, every day since then to now has been about building my mindset, body, and strength to get experience and be resilient. Marching on to 2022 will be about placing Africa on the medal table.” — Akwasi Frimpong.
Before relocating to Russia this year, the Ghanaian olympian based and trained in Utah in the United States (US). “Because I needed a different location to diversify my experience in the sport after all these years in the US, I was super excited when the Russians said YES to me. This was after I wrote their Bobsleigh Federation a letter the last quarter of this year, formally requesting to train with them,” he said.
While training in Russia, Frimpong will receive logistical, technical, and organizational assistance. He will also be part of team-Russia as its national team prepares for Beijing 2022. According to information available to TheAfricanDream.net, Frimpong will compete at the Russian Cup from October 25-30.
Written by Oral Ofori