Dutch-Ghanaian Winter Olympian Akwasi Frimpong has today been appointed as the seventh member of the Start-Up Group for the new Athlete-led Movement for change, Global Athlete.
In joining Global Athlete, Frimpong who made history at Pyeongchang 2018 by becoming West Africa’s first male skeleton athlete at a Winter Olympic Games – is part of a growing number of cause-driven athletes worldwide that want to reform sport and bridge the current disconnect between administrators and athletes with regards to the way sport is run. Frimpong has joined Global Athlete to give athletes their rightful say at the decision-making table alongside administrators – something he believes is currently absent from Olympic and Paralympic sport – and to ensure athletes are treated fairly.
“At a time when athletes are rising, I am delighted to be joining Global Athlete so that I can play my part in creating history by changing the way sport is run at the very top,” said Frimpong. “Positive change in the world of sport is inevitable. Athletes and administrators who are bold, ambitious and crazy enough to believe they can create positive change to the way that sport is governed are the ones that usually succeed. We must embrace the ambition of those that want to change the sport for the better, and there can be no time to waste in securing that change,” he added.
The 33-year-old, who was born in Ghana and moved to the Netherlands aged eight, has been an inspiration to millions of aspiring athletes across Africa and the world through his Hope of a Billion campaign. Frimpong established Hope of a Billion having been motivated by an ambition to become the first African to win a medal at the Winter Olympics. Through the campaign, Frimpong aims to become an example for more than a billion Africans and underdog athletes who have been told their sporting dreams are not possible. With Hope of a Billion, Frimpong provides an example that ‘any dream, whether it is being a doctor, a lawyer, a businessperson or an Olympian, is possible with hard work, dedication and perseverance’.
“I am thrilled to welcome Akwasi to our growing athlete movement,” said Global Athlete Director General, Rob Koehler. “Akwasi has an incredible backstory of courage and triumph in the face of adversity, and it is athletes like him that have inspired so many others to speak up when things need improving and to stand up for what’s right. Our Start-Up Group looks forward to working with Akwasi as, collectively, they reach out to athletes from all sports and all countries to improve and modernise athlete rights,” he added.
Akwasi Frimpong was discovered in the Netherlands aged 15 in 2001 as a sprinter by two-time Olympian Sammy Monsels. Within 18 months, at the age of 17, Frimpong won a Gold Medal and became Dutch Junior Champion in the 200-Metre Sprints. His coach believed he could become an Olympian, so he started to believe in himself. In 2008, Frimpong received an NCAA Divison 1 Athletic Scholarship and went on to compete and study at the Utah Valley University in Utah, USA. There, Frimpong won a number of championships for the University and broke the Armory 4 x 400-Metre indoor track record. In 2012, Frimpong was part of the Dutch 4 x 100-Metre Relay London Pre-Olympic team, but an injury derailed his chance of making the final relay team for the Games. In total, Frimpong won eight Gold, three Silver and four Bronze medals in various national and international track & field competitions.
Frimpong later switched sports due to injuries. He became a bobsledder for the Netherlands as a second alternate for Sochi 2014. Then, in 2018 he finally fulfilled his Olympic dream by competing for his country Ghana in the sport of skeleton. Frimpong is now preparing for the 2022 Beijing Olympics as a skeleton athlete.
Global Athlete is a new international athlete-led movement aiming to inspire and drive change across the world of sport. As a movement run by athletes, for athletes, Global Athlete’s goal is to balance the power between athletes and sports leaders and to enable athletes to have their say about the way in which sport is run. Global Athlete aims to inspire and change the sport for the better and bring it into the twenty-first century by mobilizing athletes, following the recent unprecedented uprising in which athletes have called for enhanced rights and changes to the way sport is governed.
Athletes who are passionate about seeing a change in sport and want to start a conversation on how they see the future of sport are encouraged to sign-up at the Global Athlete website: http://globalathlete.org/