Tommy Kono’s life History and Career

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Tommy Kono's life history and career

Tommy Kono was a Japanese-American weightlifter who competed in the 1952 Summer Olympics, setting world records. He went on to win two gold medals and one silver medal in the 1956 Summer Olympics and two gold medals in the 1960 Summer Olympics. Kono’s career ended abruptly when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1964, but he continued to be a coach and administrator in the sport of weightlifting.

Tommy Kono’s early life

Tommy Kono was born in Hawaii in 1930, the son of Japanese immigrants. He began lifting weights as a teenager, and by age 20, he had won the Mr. Hawaii title. Kono moved to San Francisco in 1952 to train with weightlifting coach Bob Hoffman. He won the Mr. America title that year and the Mr. World title thrice (1954, 1958, 1961). Kono retired from competition in 1966 but remained active in the sport as a coach and administrator. In 1984 he was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

Tommy Kono’s weightlifting career

Tommy Kono’s weightlifting career began in 1949 when he joined the San Francisco Turners, a weightlifting club. He quickly began to make a name for himself, winning his first weightlifting championship in 1950. He would win many more championships, including two Olympic gold medals (1952 and 1956). In addition to his success as a competitive weightlifter, Kono also became a respected coach and referee. He was inducted into the USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame in 1976 and the International Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame in 1993.
Tommy Kono's life history and career

Tommy Kono’s post-weightlifting career

Tommy Kono’s post-weightlifting career was just as successful as his weightlifting career. After retiring from competitive weightlifting, Kono became a successful businessman and entrepreneur. He opened a chain of successful restaurants called “Tommy’s Grill” and started a line of health supplements and workout equipment. Kono’s businesses were so successful that he could retire a millionaire. In his retirement, Kono enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, traveling, and playing golf. He also stayed active in the weightlifting community as a coach and referee at various competitions. Kono passed away in 2016 at the age of 85.

Tommy Kono’s legacy

Tommy Kono’s legacy is of excellence, hard work, and determination.He was an Olympic weightlifter for the United States, winning two gold medals and setting multiple world records. He was also a successful businessman and owned his line of weightlifting equipment.

Kono’s career began in the early 1950s when he competed in local tournaments. He quickly began to dominate the sport and soon became a national champion. In 1952, he competed in the Olympics for the first time and won a silver medal.
Tommy Kono's life history and career

He continued to compete in weightlifting competitions throughout the 1950s and 1960s and won several more championships. He also set multiple world records during this time. In 1960, he won his first gold medal at the Olympics. He repeated this feat in 1964, becoming the only American weightlifter to win two gold medals.

After retiring from the competition, Kono remained involved in weightlifting as a coach and administrator. He served as the head coach of the U.S. Olympic weightlifting team on three occasions and helped develop numerous world-class athletes. He was inducted into the USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame in 1974 and continued to be involved with the sport until he died in 2016.

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