Tommy Kono

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Tommy Kono
Tommy Kono.jpg
Tommy Kono in 2015
Personal information
Nationality American
Born (1930-06-27) June 27, 1930 (age 90)
Sacramento, California
Residence United States Hawaii
Country USA
Sport Olympic weightlifting
Event(s) Clean and press
Clean and jerk
Turned pro 1952
Retired 1964
Achievements and titles
World finals 1953 gold medal
1954 gold medal
1955 gold medal
1957 gold medal
1958 gold medal
1959 gold medal
Olympic finals 1952 gold medal
1956 gold medal
1960 silver medal

Tamio "Tommy" Kono (born June 27, 1930) was a U.S. weightlifter in the 1950s and 1960s. Kono is the only Olympic weightlifter in history to have set world records in four different weight classes:[1] lightweight (149 pounds or 67.5 kilograms), middleweight (165 lb or 75 kg), light-heavyweight (182 lb or 82.5 kg), and middle-heavyweight (198 lb or 90 kg).

Early life

Of Japanese descent, Kono was born in Sacramento, California, on June 27, 1930. Kono's family was relocated to Tule Lake internment camp during World War II. Tule lake camp was in a very isolated area in the desert in northern California.

Sickly as a child, the desert air helped Kono's asthma. It was during the relocation that Kono was introduced to weightlifting by neighbors including the late Noboru "Dave" Shimoda, a member of the Tule Lake weight lifting and bodybuilding club and brother of actor Yuki Shimoda and his friends, Gotoh, Toda, and Bob Nakanishi. After 3½ years they were released and Kono finished high school at Sacramento High.

Olympic weightlifting/bodybuilding career

Kono was a gold medalist at both the 1952 Summer Olympics and 1956 Summer Olympics, and a silver medalist at the 1960 Summer Olympics. Kono won the World Weightlifting Championships six consecutive times from 1953 to 1959, and set a total of 21 world records. Kono is also a three-time Pan American Games champion in 1955, 1959, and 1963.

In 1976, Kono was head coach of the United States' Olympic weightlifting team in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.

Kono was also a successful Bodybuilder, winning the Iron Man Mr. World title in 1954.

In the 1970s Kono moved to Hawaii, where he has lived ever since. On his home visits he holds workshops in weightlifting.

In 1993 Kono was elected to the International Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame.[2] Kono is also an inductee to the Association of Oldetime Barbell and Strongmen (A.O.B.S.) Hall of Fame.


  1. " Sports Biographies: Kono, "Tommy"". Retrieved 2007-10-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Weightlifting Hall of Fame". International Weightlifting Federation. Retrieved 2008-08-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links