Tamio Tommy Kono is a Japanese American weightlifter from the 1950s who set world records in four different weight classes, including middleweight, light-heavyweight, and heavyweight. Kono is one of only four men to hold multiple world records in the same weight class. What makes Kono stand out from the rest? Here’s how you can learn more about this great athlete. Listed below are some of his most memorable achievements.
“Tommy” Kono is a Japanese American weightlifter from the 1950s. He set world records in four weight classes including middleweight, light-heavyweight, and heavyweight. His records were so impressive that the United States Olympic Committee gave him the “Tommy Kono Award.”
The American weightlifting team was a no-brainer, as Kono’s record-setting performances paved the way for his eventual induction into the USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame. While his records were eclipsed and his legacy as a weightlifter is widely recognized, few athletes have cast a bigger shadow on international lifting than Tommy Kono. This is his biography and a look at his life.
During World War II, Kono was interned at Tule Lake and was drafted into the US Army. He was later released from military service when his Olympic potential became evident. Kono won two gold medals in 1952 and 1956 and a silver medal in 1960. HeAlso won six World titles in a row between 1953 and 1959. He also set 26 world records. He is a member of the US Olympic Hall of Fame.
The late Olympic coach Tommy Kono is a man of many talents, not only as an athlete but also as a trainer and spokesperson. He was a member of the US weightlifting team, coached several national teams, and was a pioneer in training techniques and equipment. He has been living in Hawai’i since 1955. In 1993, Kono was inducted into the Weightlifting Hall of Fame. A short video about Kono was also produced, featuring an interview with Shanti Rittgers.
After the Korean War, Kono joined the U.S. military and was drafted two years later. He was on a rotation list to go to Korea, but his commander saw his potential as an Olympic coach. Instead of being sent to Korea, Kono was assigned to a base gym near San Francisco. This is how his career as an Olympic coach began. He was known as a tireless teacher of weightlifting and continued to enter competitions while serving his country.
World record holder
Japanese-American weightlifter Tommy Kono is one of the greatest weightlifters of the twentieth century. He went undefeated in the world competition between 1953 and 1959, winning six straight world titles. His accomplishments also included two Olympic gold medals and three consecutive Pan American Games gold medals. Today, his name is synonymous with the sport of weightlifting and he is considered by many to be the greatest weightlifter of all time.
After retiring from competitive weightlifting in 1964, Kono turned to coaching other athletes and worked as a physical fitness specialist for the City of Honolulu for more than two decades. He continued lifting weights three times a week, and even broke four state records by the time he retired in 1997. His wife Florence Rodrigues also encouraged him to pursue a non-competitive career, and he even served as a writer for the International Weightlifting Federation’s Strength & Health magazine.
In April 1964, Kono won the 165-pound weightlifting division at the Fourteenth National YMCA Championships in Los Angeles. He also set three National YMCA records. While in prison, he improved his asthma and developed his weight-lifting technique. In addition, he also started to use low-cut weightlifting shoes, which helped him overcome the restrictions of the incarceration camps. After completing his sentence, Kono’s family returned to Sacramento. Kono, who had a passion for weightlifting, started lifting weights at the YMCA and excelled at it, and became a national champion.
In addition to training at the YMCA, Kono continued his dominance on the Pacific Coast. He won the 148-pound division in Oakland in December 1951, and broke the unofficial US record in San Jose the next month. In addition, he spent time with his friends. One day, his new YMCA instructor, Ben “Ace” Hara, gave him a fifteen-pound barbell. He learned the importance of great leg strength, and he forced himself to do plenty of heavy squats. He achieved a maximum effort of 55 pounds three times, and 65 pounds once.
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