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June 7, 2018 | Press Release

Akwasi Frimpong Debunks Daily Graphic Report

Akwasi Frimpong’s Communication Team
Akwasi Frimpong
Akwasi Frimpong

The following is a response to the inaccuracies in the article from Ghana Graphic by Chris Nunoo June 5th, 2018 about Akwasi Frimpong

There has never been an athlete who put Ghana so positively on the world map such as Ghana’s sole winter Olympic representative, Akwasi Frimpong. In addition to representing Ghana, he was one of the most interviewed athletes during the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.

As Bobsled and Skeleton Federation–Ghana, we are very proud of Akwasi Frimpong. He continues to be a source of inspiration to many people in Ghana and around the world.

As a federation we have seen how hard Akwasi worked to get to the Olympics. Akwasi started competing for Ghana in the sport of skeleton November 2016, while also working to provide for his family through selling vacuums door-to-door, running his own business and selling his car. Using his own funds, he traveled to Ghana in the summer of 2017 to start Ghana’s first winter sport federation. Through all of this, Akwasi spent numerous hours searching for personal sponsorships and funding sources to pay for his training and travel expenses.

As a federation we have watched how unprofessionally the Ghana Olympic Committee has dealt with Akwasi before, during and after the Olympic Games. We have advised Akwasi many times to share his frustration with the public. Akwasi refused to engage in such activities, until this slanderous article in the Ghana Graphic on June 5, 2018.

  1. Response to the claim thatthe GOC provided Akwasi a $650/month scholarship:

Neither the GOC, Cocoa from Ghana or Pay switch contributed to Akwasi Frimpong’s $650/month International Olympic Committee (IOC) Solidarity Scholarship.

We don’t know where the author came up with the $650 amount for the scholarship. The actual amount Akwasi received from the IOC scholarship was $1,500 per month for eight months.

The IOC Solidarity Scholarship is not money that comes from businesses, the Ghana government or from the GOC.It is money from the IOC for athletes who are competing on international level and need the extra funding support to do so. As a resident of the United States representing Ghana in the Olympics, Akwasi automatically qualified for this scholarship.The GOC’s responsibility was to verify that Akwasi was a Ghanaian athlete and officially apply for the scholarship on his behalf, as athletes are not allowed to apply directly for such a scholarship via the IOC.

Via an email letter October 8, 2016, Akwasi asked the GOC to help him with the scholarship process. He could have had a two-year IOC Olympic solidarity scholarship had the GOC applied for the IOC Solidarity Scholarship on Akwasi’s behalf in 2016. But they did not do so until September 2017, five months before the Olympic Games – and only after Akwasi sent them multiple emails asking them to do so. Even after their year-long delay, Akwasi expressed his gratitude to the GOC in emails and phone calls, and also worldwide through social media and in local and worldwide news.

  1. The GOC’s claim about how much they paid for Frimpong’s Olympic participation is false

Akwasi did not learn until 11 days before the start of the Olympics that PaySwitch and Cocoa from Ghana had each donated $25,000 (100,000 Ghana cedies) to the GOC to support Akwasi’s participation.

Despite having this sponsorship money, Akwasi had to email the GOC three times about purchasing his ticket to fly to the Olympic Games. Finally, on Jan. 26, 2018, just seven days before he needed to fly to Korea, he told the GOC president he would borrow money from friends and family to pay for his airline ticket. He requested that the GOC pay him back in Korea. Without the GOC’s help, Akwasi paid $6,295.33(29,278.01 Ghana cedis) for tickets for him, his coach and physical therapists to get to Korea in time to train and adjust before Olympic competition.

The GOC paid him back in cash in Korea, and paid $130 dollars per day for 21 days as a per diem for Akwasi, his sliding coach and physical therapist.

To this date, the GOC never paid any money for his excess baggage traveling back from Korea to Utah where he trains and reside.

From the $50,000 dollars the GOC received to support Akwasi at the Olympics, Akwasi and his team has only seen $14,485.33.

— Plane tickets total reimbursement for three people = $6,295.33

— $130 per diem for three people for 21 days = $8,190

The GOC did NOT contribute to Akwasi’s family expenses. His friends and family paid for their own plane tickets to South Korea, and Akwasi paid for housing for them via Airbnb. Additionally, Akwasi paid for his family’s skeleton event tickets so they could come watch him. Akwasi has receipts for all of these purchases. He never expected the GOC to pay for his family’s expenses.

  1. Response to the GOC’s erroneous claim that Frimpong did not acknowledging the GOC or its sponsors

Akwasi has mentioned his gratitude to the GOC and its sponsors multiple times before and after the Olympic Games in writing to the GOC, on social media and in media interviews with Graphic, Myjoyonline, Kwese Sports, Citifm, Pulse Ghane. Additionally, he has acknowledged the GOC and his sponsors on BBC, CNN, Aljazeera, USA Today, The Washington Post, Eurosport and many more other global media.

He has also reached out to the GOC multiple times to meet with them after the games. Akwasi wrote to the GOC March 24, 2018 that he was going to be in Ghana April 2-7 and would like to personally come thank them in the office. GOC representatives responded that most of their members would be at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, so an office visit would have to wait. The same communication mentioned that they would like to recognize Akwasi for his efforts at the Olympic Games sometime in May.

While Akwasi was in Ghana from April 2-7 visiting the international NGO Right to Play and working with kids in Ghana schools, he organized a dinner April 6. Attendees at the dinner included members of Right to Play Netherlands and Right to Play Ghana, members of the Bobsled and Skeleton Federation–Ghana, the Ghana Sport Ministry and the GOC Vice President. Akwasi organized the dinner, partnering to pay for it with Right to Play Netherlands, to thank the Ghana sport ministry and the GOC for teaming up with Akwasi in the 2018 Olympics.

On April 26, Akwasi emailed the GOC about a visit to Ghana May 23- 28. The GOC responded, promising (as they had before the Olympics) to recognize Akwasi in Ghana and arrange a visit to the President of Ghana. After that initial communication, they did not reach out to Akwasi again, and none of these arrangements were finalized.

Akwasi flew to Ghana without knowing if he would meet with the President of Ghana. During his visit, he heard nothing about the visit from the GOC. But on May 28, hours before he had to fly back to his family in the USA, his communication team was notified by a representative of Ghana Diaspora that the Presidentwould make time for a visit with Akwasi. Akwasi could not turn down such a visit and went.

In summary, Akwasi Frimpong has worked tirelessly with the GOC over the past two years, and their recent representation of him is completely false. The IOC scholarship money came through the IOC and not the GOC. Using Akwasi’s name, the GOC solicited sponsorships from Payswitch and Cocoa for Ghana but Akwasi had to beg the GOC for travel expenses for himself and his coaches, despite IOC rules being in place for such things. The GOC never paid for Akwasi’s family traveling or lodging expenses related to the Olympic Games.

While Akwasi was in Ghana from April 2-7 visiting the international NGO Right to Play and working with kids in Ghana schools, he organized a dinner April 6. Attendees at the dinner included members of Right to Play Netherlands and Right to Play Ghana, members of the Bobsled and Skeleton Federation–Ghana, the Ghana Sport Ministry and the GOC Vice President. Akwasi organized the dinner, partnering to pay for it with Right to Play Netherlands, to thank the Ghana sport ministry and the GOC for teaming up with Akwasi in the 2018 Olympics.

Without Akwasi Frimpong, Ghana would have not been at the 2018 Olympic Games. Despite this, the GOC president and GOC secretary general did not show up for the opening ceremony of the Olympics to support Akwasi. The chef de mission, Jerry Shaib, the GOC president, GOC secretary and GOC Olympic Attaché all left the Olympics before the closing ceremony.

Finally, Akwasi had to arrange for Ghana’s opening ceremony clothing 11 days before the event. Normally, such clothes are arranged a year before the Olympic Games by the country’s Olympic committee and are never arranged for by athletes.

Akwasi’s actions then and throughout his journey to the Olympics have always helped Ghana and the GOC look good on a global stage.

These facts were assembled by Akwasi Frimpong’s communication team, and the opening statement was contributed by Edwin Randolph, coach and secretary general BSF-GHANA. Akwasi Frimpong is currently in rehabilitation for an injury and was not available for comment.

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