History was made last Thursday when for the first time ever, an athlete from West Africa competed in the skeleton event at the Winter Olympics.
Akwasi Frimpong is representing Ghana in the Pyeongchang Games, the country where he was born.
And while he currently lives in Utah, he says it was a great honor representing Ghana as the flag-bearer during the Opening Ceremonies.
“That was probably the coolest part. I was definitely chilled out until about two minutes when I walked into the arena. I was like, ‘Whoa, I’m actually waving the flag for 29 million people in my country,'” Frimpong said.
Less than a week later, he was competing for his country in the men’s skeleton event. A day he says he’ll never forget.
“It was super cool. Obviously I didn’t have that many runs to practice the track,” he said. “The Olympics is all about competing against the best in the world. That I had that opportunity was just awesome.”
Frimpong didn’t expect to medal, and he didn’t.
He did, however, put all his expectations on his helmet, which depicts a lion trying to eat a rabbit. He says his helmet is a metaphor for his life.
“The lion stands for all the things I went through. The dilemma, the stress, the Dutch immigration, all the people that tried to hold me back. And the rabbit is supposed to symbolize me trying to escape out of the lion’s mouth,” Frimpong said.