The Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) has endorsed Akwasi Frimpong, an athlete, entrepreneur and international motivational speaker, to represent Ghana at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
However, Frimpong, Ghana’s first skeleton athlete for the 2018 Winter Olympics still needs to qualify for the Winter Games.
To qualify for the Olympics, Frimpong will need to fulfill the International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules, which requires a minimum of five races on three different ice tracks in two years. He is halfway there.
During his first season, he competed in 12 races on four different ice tracks — Calgary, Utah, Lake Placid and Germany. In addition, Frimpong will need to rank in the top 60 on the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) world ranking by January 14, 2018.
Frimpong was ranked 95th in world during the 2016/2017 season, though it was only his first year as a skeleton athlete.
If successful, Frimpong will be only the second athlete in Ghana’s history to compete under the flag of Ghana in the Winter Olympics. Kwame Nkrumah competed in the slalom ski event in 2010 in Vancouver.
Frimpong will also be the first athlete from West Africa ever to compete in the skeleton event, and the first black male skeleton athlete from the continent.
The sport for years has been dominated by white athletes, so Frimpong is already breaking down boundaries across the world. Frimpong competed for Ghana in February, during the IBSF World Championships in Koenigssee, Germany.
He was the first West African to compete at the World Championships in the skeleton event, and the only Ghanaian athlete nominated for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
“GOC is very proud of Akwasi and his efforts to not only become an Olympian, but in the meanwhile promoting winter sport” said GOC president, Ben Nunoo Mensah.
He launched the Bobsled and Skeleton Federation-Ghana (BSF-Ghana) in July in Accra.
More than 45 participants from six regions in Ghana participated. BSF-Ghana has been accepted by the National Sports Authority of Ghana and is the first official winter sport federation in Ghana.