The iconic lifter Tommy Kono who passed away last year was born 87 years ago on 27 June 1930.
Born in Sacramento under the name Tamio Kono’s family was of Japanese descent. They were relocated to Tuke Lake internment camp during World War II. It was there that he was introduced to weightlifting.
Kono had outstanding results in three bodyweight categories being 67,5 kg, 75 kg and 82,5 kg.
He was Olympic Champion twice, once Silver Medallist and besides his one Silver and one Bronze medal obtained at World Championships he won six Gold between 1953 and 1962.
He won the Pan-American Games three times (1955, 1959, 1963).
His greatest achievements were of course his Olympic medals:
Gold in 1952 Helsinki (67,5kg bodyweight category), Gold in 1956 Melbourne (82,5kg bodyweight category) and Silver in 1960 Rome (75kg bodyweight category).
Kono had a brilliant technique that helped him achieve 26 World Records in 4 different bodyweight categories.
He also had a successful career as coach in Mexico, Germany and the USA.
In addition to his weightlifting career, Kono also excelled in the realm of bodybuilding, winning the title of “Mr. World” in 1954 and “Mr. Universe” in 1955, 1957 and 1961. He was the boyhood idol and inspiration of Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was inducted into the International Weightlifting Hall of Fame in 1993 and also is a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee Hall of Fame and the Association of Oldetime Barbell and Strongmen Hall of Fame. In 2005, Tommy Kono received the title of “Lifter of the Century” from the IWF.