This story was originally published on August 28, 2017
Ghana may not see any snowfall, but that isn’t stopping one man from training to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Awkwasi Frimpong is not an Olympian. . . yet. But he’s training like one.
“My wife, the one thing she said is, I don’t want you to be 99 years old and still whining, in a positive way, about your Olympic dreams,” Frimpong said.
Frimpong is 31 years old and a former track-and-field star at Utah Valley University. He came close to being an Olympian in 2012.
“I was actually part of the pre-Olympic London 4×100 meter relay team. I missed that Olympics because of an Achilles injury,” he said.
But one year later, that led to Frimpong being recruited for a different sport.
“Bobsled team. Because of my speed,” he said.
That’s right. Bobsled. Frimpong is from Ghana in west Africa, where it doesn’t snow. In 2015, Frimpong transitioned from bobsled to skeleton.
“Go head first, anywhere from 70-90 miles per hour with your chin about three inches from the ice. Basically [it’s] laying on a cooking sheet on my belly and going as hard as possible down the track,” Frimpong said.
He continued, “Your brain, it’s just like a speed you have never experienced before. It was definitely scary. But I’m not here to make a Disney movie. I’m here to compete with the best of the world.”
Frimpong is currently ranked 95th in the world. He needs to be in the top 60 by mid-January to qualify for the Olympics. If he does, he’ll be just the second winter Olympian ever from Ghana.
WATCH:In this web exclusive, Akwasi Frimpong describes what motivates him in his quest to become an Olympian.