Akwasi Frimpong thought carefully about the significance of Chadwick Boseman and his presentation of the Black Panther when he dived headfirst on a brakeless sled, high on aerodynamics, doing 80 miles per hour on Pyeong Chang’s frozen ice track at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Akwasi Frimpong stated that when he was competing many people said they have their own hero, King T’challa on ice, and they talked about how important representation was.
Akwasi Frimpong, the second winter Olympian from Ghana and first black African in Skeleton, welcomed being compared to T’challa.
Yun Sung-Bin, the South Korean athlete who went on to win the men’s skeleton event, competed in a bodysuit inspired by Iron Man.
The 2018 winter games was a milestone for African athletes, who competed for the first time in the sports of Bobsled and Skeleton.
Akwasi Frimpong, who grew up as an immigrant in The Netherlands, was representing Ghana, and that was shown in his attire which was a kente-inspired bodysuit in yellow, green and red, which matched his carved physique.
The Olympics were around the same time with the release of the movie “Black Panther”, which started many conversations about the representation of black and African culture.
Akwasi Frimpong took the film’s message and used it for the ice.
He stated that he understood the message of the black people from Africa and what they wanted to see, and they were happy that he was wearing a Ghana outfit but he knew that after the 2018 Olympic Games he was not there to only represent the 20 million people, he wanted to represent 1.2 billion people and that’s where the story of the Hope of a Billion comes in.
After the Olympics he got together with a designer names Matt Millette and an airbrush artist named Jordan Bourgeault, to create a Black Panther inspired suit for competition.
The suit is sleek, all-black and textured, just like the super-hero outfit worn by Chadwick Boseman in the film.
The helmet is modelled on King T’Challa’s mask.
Like Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal of Black Panther, Akwasi Frimpong’s image was rich, black and cross-cultural.