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Utah Olympic athlete voices concerns about sliding move from Italy in 2026

Oct 17, 2023, 8:30 AM

Winter Olympic training...

Akwasi Frimpong in training. (KSL TV)

(KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — A major change was announced for winter Olympic athletes hoping to compete in the bobsledding, skeleton and luge events at the 2026 Milan-Cortina Italy games.

Officials say the sliding events will not be held in Italy but at another venue in another country. They said it comes down to not being able to afford the track.

“A huge shocker for the Olympic world for winter athletes,” said 37-year-old Akwasi Frimpong, an Olympic athlete in the skeleton event that is training at the Utah Olympic Park for the 2026 games in Italy. He’s from Ghana and is hoping to represent his country again. He got a call at 5:30 a.m. on Monday from a coach about the changes.

“Kind of a shocker right, because as an athlete you’ve been preparing for 2026 Milan-Cortina, I’m going to be there,” Frimpong told KSL TV.

He said there is something to be said about being where all the action is. To fill the Olympic spirit.

“It’s difficult being at the 2018 Olympic games knowing that you were there with everybody else seeing all the athletes, the opening ceremony the closing ceremony, the training, exchanging pins, eating together in the village. It’s such a cool experience and I’m not sure what that will look like going forward in Milan-Cortina,” he said. “What I’ve read so far is it could be in France, it could be in Switzerland it could be in Germany, it could be in Austria.

But Frimpongis not about to throw in the towel. He plans to continue his intense training, with a positive attitude that the Olympic Games are still the Olympic Games, no matter where they are held.

“If this is the best solution I think we should just stand behind it and find a way to make it the best possible Olympic Games,” he said. “You have to be optimistic you have to be positive, right?”

Related: Is Utah hosting the Olympics a burden to taxpayers or an investment?

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Utah Olympic athlete voices concerns about sliding move from Italy in 2026