The Atlantic

Ghana's Skeleton Hero

Akwasi Frimpong’s improbable journey to Olympic sledding—from a country without ice.
Source: Edgar Su / Reuters

Editor’s Note: Read all of The Atlantic’s Winter Olympics coverage.

ACcra, GHANA—Robert Annak was working the overnight shift at a power plant in Takoradi, a city in western Ghana, last Friday, when he took a break to watch the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics his phone. He didn’t have to wait long to find the person he was looking for: After the Greek athletes marched into the Pyeongchang Olympic Arena, Akwasi Frimpong was next to enter, proudly waving the flag of Ghana high above his head.

“It was so good to see him hoisting the Ghana flag in the cold weather,” said Annak, a friend of Frimpong’s who is helping recruit more Ghanaian athletes to compete in winter sports. “We feel proud to have an athlete representing our country.”

Frimpong is the only athlete representing Ghana in Pyeongchang, and only the second Ghanaian to ever participate in the Winter Olympics. On February 15, the 32-year-old  sprinted beside a small, brakeless sled, then flattened himself onto it and plunged

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