Tommy Kono’s professional career

Tommy Kono's professional career

Tommy Kono was an elite weightlifter who competed in three Olympic games, winning two gold medals and one silver medal. He also set over 30 world records in his career. After retiring from competition, Kono became a successful businessman and philanthropist. In this blog post, we will explore Tommy Kono’s professional career, from his early days as a weightlifter to his later years as a businessman and philanthropist. We will also learn about some of the challenges he faced during his career and how he overcame them.

Tommy Kono’s Early Life

Tommy Kono was born in 1930 in Hawaii, the son of Japanese immigrants. He began lifting weights as a teenager, and by age 19, he had won the Mr. Hawaii title. He then moved to California to attend college and compete in bodybuilding competitions.

In 1950, Kono won the Mr. America title and went on to win the Mr. World title twice (1951 and 1958). He retired from competition in 1959 but remained active in the sport as a coach and referee.

Tommy Kono success as a weightlifter led to a career in coaching. He coached the U.S. weightlifting team at the 1964 Olympics, and he also coached teams at the 1968 and 1972 Olympics. In 1976, he was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

Kono’s coaching career ended in 1980 when he was accused of involvement in a doping scandal. He was banned from coaching for life, but he continued to work with athletes as a private consultant.

In 1984, Kono was inducted into the International Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame. He died in 2016 at the age of 86.
Tommy Kono's professional career

Tommy Kono’s Amateur Career

Tommy Kono’s amateur career began in 1948 when he won the Mr. America title. He went on to win the Mr. World title in 1950 and the Mr. Universe title in 1951. Kono was a five-time World Weightlifting Champion and set world records in the snatch, clean and jerk, and total weight lifted. He retired from competition in 1966 with 52 world records to his credit.

Tommy Kono’s Professional Career

As one of the most decorated weightlifters in history, Tommy Kono’s professional career was remarkable. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1930, Kono began weightlifting while still in high school and quickly rose to prominence in the sport. He won his first major title, the Mr. Universe contest, in 1953 and went on to win gold medals at the 1954 and 1958 World Championships. He also won gold at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia, setting a new world record.


Kono’s success at the highest levels of competition continued into the 1960s. He won gold at the 1962 World Championships and followed that up with another gold medal performance at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. He retired from competition after those Games but remained active as a coach and administrator for many years afterward. Kono passed away in 2016 at the age of 85.

Tommy Kono’s Later Years

Tommy Kono’s later years were spent working as a weightlifting coach. He coached at the 1976 and 1984 Olympics and was inducted into the USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame in 1992. Kono retired from coaching in 2001 and died in 2016.


Tommy Kono was a world-renowned weightlifter and Olympic gold medalist whose professional career spanned four decades. He was a dominant force in the sport during its formative years, winning multiple world championships and setting numerous world records. Kono’s legacy extends beyond his accomplishments in weightlifting; he was also an influential coach and administrator who helped shape the sport as we know it today. Tommy Kono was a true weightlifting pioneer, and his impact on the sport will be felt for generations to come.


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