It takes courage and the right support to motivate people to dare to dream and go after their dreams. He has suddenly become a global icon and has been invited on several platforms both in Ghana and abroad to give a talk on sports. His passion lead him to participate in the recently held Olympics. Though he did not win any medal during the Olympics, he’s certainly won the heart of the world.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is making a documentary on him which will be released in October 2018 and he’s excited to keep having this kind of opportunities to put our beautiful country Ghana on the world map.
We are privilege to have him, Akwasi Frimpong, Ghana’s first skeleton representative at the 2018 Olympics to share with us his experiences and achievements in the world of sports and how high he’s lifted the flag of Ghana through sports.
He’s taking time of his busy schedule to interact with BrandO to share his success story with our discerning readers.
BrandO: Welcome to BrandO and congratulations! We’re proud of you.
Akwasi Frimpong: Thank you and thanks for the opportunity.
What motivated you to
participate in the Olympics?
It was my dream since I was 17 years old. My former Dutch sprint coach who had been to the Olympic games twice believed in me and because he believed in me, I believed in myself.
Any event competing
experience prior to this?
I was a sprinter, then a bobsledder before I became a skeleton athlete. As a sprinter I won 8 gold medals 3 silver and 4 bronzes. In 2003, I was the Dutch junior sprint champion on the 200m sprints. In 2012 I was part of the Dutch 4x100m pre-Olympic relay team and got into the winter sport of bobsledding. In 2014, I became an alternate for the 2014 Sochi Olympic games for the Dutch bobsled team. I was approached about 2 years later to try skeleton. I gave it a chance. But this time, I wanted to compete for Ghana. To use the opportunity to give back to Ghana and motivate the youth to come out of their comfort zone and dare to dream.
I picked up the sport of skeleton fast, because of the first 50m. The first 50m, you must push the sled which weighs about 33 kilos, very fast before you dive on it. The sliding part takes about 4-6 years to learn and I have only been doing it for 1.5 years. In 2017 I competed in the skeleton world championships for Ghana and 2018 made my Olympic debut.
Do you aspire to be
at the next Olympics?
Very much so. My goal was never 2018, but 2022. 2018 was a bonus.
After the Olympics, has any company or brand approached you for brand ambassadorial role? Share the details with us.
Yes, from the USA and Netherlands, but I hope more brands,
doTERRA an international essential oil company in the USA. doTERRA supported me before the 2018 Olympics and during the Olympics. They have stayed loyal to me and are willing to continue our partnership till 2022. That is a huge commitment from my company.
Murdock Hyundai Murray car dealership in the USA. They gave me a brand new 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe sport to use for my training and competition preparation for the 2018 Olympic games. I travel a lot and I have a lot of equipment with me during the season and so a 4 wheel drive and a good car is a must. They have also stayed loyal to me and are continuing their partnership with me till 2022.
NL Training an organization in the Netherlands that specializes in teaching people Dutch, has partnered up with me for two years to use sport to help create awareness with their clients.
What are your
It’s hard to have a hobby when am so much into training and competing,
But, besides competing and hanging with my wife and daughter, I will say writing columns.
Do you run any other
business aside being an athlete or sportsman?
Yes. Golden Events Management (we specialize in events, brand management and direct sales). I had to down size my company when I picked up sports full time since 2016. It’s hard to do both well.
Share with us what
the feeling is like as an Olympian
Greatest feeling and accomplishment for me as an athlete. You become a source of inspiration. My name has become a house-hold name worldwide and I never thought that would happen. You become a public figure and you’re invited to share your journey and your story. After the Olympics, I have been flying out weekly to different programs internationally that I’m invited to and lots of speaking engagements worldwide.
What have you learnt from the Olympics?
It has taught me anything in life is possible if you believe in yourself, work hard and never give up. What you think is what you become. I wanted to become an Olympian, after many injuries, missing the Olympic games twice, being 13 years illegal and still dreaming of the Olympics, after 15 years against all odds, I did. I’m a man who never gives up!
What can we do back
home (in Ghana) to improve our athlete’s performance?
Support them with good mentors, coaches and facilities and give them the opportunity to develop their talents not only in soccer but have them try different things. Also, it will be great if they can have international experience.
Should we invest in sports
in Ghana and If yes which aspect?
Sports can help with tolerance, poverty, and trauma. Through sports kids learn how to communicate, how to deal with winning and losing, build self-esteem and confidence, help with learning. Sports is also a great tool to put Ghana on the map.
Is your family in support of this?
Yes, my wife is the one that encouraged me to go after my Olympic dreams for the third time. My brother and sister have always told me encouraging words to keep going and my mother and father have been great prayer supports towards my journey of becoming an Olympian. I’m grateful for a good family.
How do you manage training times with family?
My wife used to work till January 2018, she is now a full-time mom so I can focus on training and competing. When I’m gone for a long time, I try to take them with me. But I have to say it’s not easy having a baby and trying to do all the things that used to be easy to do. You must compromise. Also, today you are a hero, tomorrow, you are nobody, so don’t forget what matters the most, which is family.
Would you consider
yourself a role model who’s impacted lives around the world?
People say, I am a living hero, I’m a role model not only to people in Ghana, but in the rest of the world because of my journey. But I consider myself a mentor. I want to promote winter sport under the youth in Ghana and again push them to come out of their comfort zones, go after their wildest dreams and dare to dream.
What advise will you
give our readers and your fans in general?
Nothing comes easy. If you want something bad enough you work for it. Don’t let people talk you down about your dreams. You have a dream; You go for it. Just remember it will require lots of work and sacrifices”.
Do you have plans to groom
youngsters who have interest in athletics?
In bobsled and skeleton for sure, but it will require team work with the support from government and corporate Ghana.
Have you been invited by groups or institutions to share with them your Olympic experience?
Yes, lots and it has become my second job besides being a full-time athlete. Currently I’m in the Netherlands for 3 weeks invited to 6 speaking engagements and in the USA a lot as well. I’m an ambassador of the NGO, Right to Play, and a few weeks ago I was in Ghana for 5 days and I attended 5 schools in 5 days in 3 regions to share my story with the youth of Ghana. I loved visiting the schools in Ghana, because I believe the youth in Ghana has a lot of talents and is good for them to hear from a kid who was also born in Ghana and didn’t have much, but with hard work, perseverance, surrounding yourself with positive and likeminded people, you can succeed.
How can potential sponsors get in touch with you to support your next dream or project?
My federation in Ghana (Bobsled and Skeleton Federation-Ghana) we hope to have more Ghanaians compete at the next winter Olympics. We have actively every 3 months been doing bobsled and skeleton clinics in Ghana with wooden sled in various regions. We want to do it more often and specifically work with schools and we hope to find companies in Ghana who will support our federation to get more kids from Ghana to the 2022 winter Olympics. This time not only in skeleton but we want to also have a Ghana bobsled team.
My next personal goal, is to win the continent of Africa’s first winter Olympic medal. No African has done that yet. It’s not going to be easy. If it was easy someone would have already done it, but anything is possible if you focus on it and get the right support. I want to build the right team around me to get there. I hope companies in Ghana will be keen to support this historical journey.
I have to say, I’m looking for companies that are loyal and that want to look beyond just putting a logo on my chest, but a company that is willing to go the extra miles with me and make history together.
Is there any other thing you what to share with us?
I’m very grateful to the people of Ghana, who have sent me so many encouraging messages via social media. I love Ghana and the people of Ghana. I’m proud to be Ghanaian.
To learn more about Akwasi Frimpong kindly visit his personal page: www.akwasifrimpong.com/about
Akwasi, BrandO appreciates your time with us and we wish you all the best in your future endeavors. We support you. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us to share your upcoming projects anytime.