Meet the athlete making history with Ghana's Olympic ambitions
"I want to win Ghana's first Olympic gold medal" - Pulse Sports' Exclusive interview with the versatile Ghana born Dutch athlete Akwasi Frimpong.
Since then, the country has been to 13 more Games, with only five medals to show - none of them gold.
For a country famously characterized by an abundance of sporting talent, the failure that has haunted the conversion of this talent to a winning impact at the Games has been the subject of consistent worry.
But there is one man who wants to use another - albeit unlikely - route to attain Olympic glory for Ghana: the Winter Olympics.
Is this strange?
Well, of course. Ghana has neither the climate nor the facilities required to practice Winter sports, but this absence does not disqualify the country from wanting in on all the fun and glory of snow sports.
Akwasi Frimpong, born in Ghana but raised in the Netherlands, is a former sprinter who discovered his talent for bobsleigh and skeleton after an ankle injury cut short his fledgling yet promising sprint career.
The 31-year-old, a former Dutch National Youth champion in 200m spoke exclusively to Pulse.com.gh about his ambition to make Ghana glow in winter sports despite the absence of snow.
The Utah-based Frimpong aims to become the second Ghanaian to compete at the Winter Olympics.
The first, Men's skier Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong, finished 47th in the slalom competition at the 2010 Vancouver Games.
Pulse Sports (PS):Why did you decide to venture into Bobsleigh and Skeleton rather than any other sport, considering that you seem to be a versatile athlete?
Akwasi Frimpong (AF): After missing the 2012 Summer Olympics with the Dutch 4x100m relay team, I was asked to join the Dutch national bobsled team as a brakemen, the person who pushes at the back of a bobsled and brakes at the end.
Skeleton on the otherhand came about because after being out of the sports after 2014, I decided to focus on being an entrepreneur. After almost three years, I missed being competitive. My former Dutch national bobsled coach told me I will be good at skeleton because of my body posture and my speed as a sprinter.
The first 50 m before you hop on the sled is very important, and races are won at the start once you learn how to slide well.
PS: South Africa seems to be the only African country striving to bolden the name of the continent in the world of winter sports. Do you think it's realistic for Ghana to try and do same, especially given the fact that we lack the conditions and thus have to train outside?
AF: I think you can become good in anything if you put your mind to it. Besides that any country can become good if they have a good program and a supportive system. Being outside is one thing, but Ghanaians are very talented and have lots of speed and good athleticism. Also they have the following attributes that will come in handy; resilience, determination, and confidence.
PS: Do you see yourself venturing into Athletics again?
AF: Right now the focus is skeleton, but during the off season, which is in the summer, I do a lot of sprint exercises.
PS: Why not target the Peonyang 2018 Winter Games for your Olympic Skeleton ambitions? (but rather the Beijing 2022 Games?)
AF: Hard work and talent is important in these sports, but it is mainly the financial aspect that makes a difference. Teams with more money, good programs and a supporting government system have an advantage.
I recently started with the Skeleton and this is my first season. It takes about four to six years to become good in steering a skeleton to become one of the best. I give 100% in training and during competitions, so if I make 2018 then it will be a great experience, but I want to do more. I want to win Ghana's very first Olympic gold medal in 2022.
PS: How do you plan to discover and develop skeleton and bobsleigh talents in Ghana?
AF: People can visit our website www.bsfghana.com and apply. Our first focus is the diaspora of Ghana; that is people living in countries outside Ghana with accessible ice track facilities, because we want examples and this way we can inspire potentials in Ghana to come out of their comfort zone and start recruiting from Ghana.
PS: In a career of many commendable highs, what do you consider your biggest achievement?
AF: Starting the Bobsled and Skeleton Federation Ghana (BSF-Ghana) to encourage the people of my country.