PYEONGCHANG, South Korea -- Akwasi Frimpong hopes his history-making run in the men's skeleton will inspire those in "warm countries" after he became the first Ghanaian to take part in this event at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Frimpong, who was Ghana's flag-bearer in the opening ceremonies, finished last in the skeleton here at the Alpensia Sliding Centre with his good friend, Jamaica's Anthony Watson, one place higher. He came to Pyeongchang with low expectations, having attended his first skeleton trial in November 2016, but was pleased with his performance and hopes it will resonate back in Ghana.
"I came in bottom of the rankings and at the end of the day I am still there," Frimpong said. "I can only move up. You have experience, knowing the weather. I have to stay in my comfort zone and make sure I don't do anything too crazy."
With his wife, Erica, and daughter, Ashanti, in the crowd Friday, Frimpong, 31, was emotional when talking about his journey to the Games. He left Ghana at age 8 to move to the Netherlands and was originally a sprinter before turning attention to the skeleton. He sold vacuum cleaners to fund his Olympic dream and hopes to compete at Beijing 2022.
"For me, the Olympics was to break barriers, to show that black people, people from warm countries, can do this, as well," Frimpong said. "Secondly, I want to motivate and inspire people in my country, to show kids in a little corner what they can do.
"Everybody has their own story. I am just grateful I didn't give up. I just hope a kid in Ghana sees me sliding today and they will go after their dreams as well. They need it, I need it."