Tommy Kono

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 2
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 3
RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameTamio "Tommy"•Kono
Used nameTommy•Kono
Born27 June 1930 in Sacramento, California (USA)
Died24 April 2016 in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi (USA)
Measurements167 cm / 67-81 kg
AffiliationsHawaii York XDR Club
NOC United States


Pound-for-pound, Tommy Kono is probably the greatest lifter produced by the United States. Between 1953 and 1959 he was undefeated in World and Olympic competition, adding six straight world titles to his two Olympic gold medals. He also won three consecutive gold medals at the Pan American Games, in 1955, 1959, and 1963.

Kono was capable of lifting well at almost any bodyweight, witnessed by his Olympic medals in three different classes. He is the only man to ever set world records in four different classes and won 11 AAU Championships – in three different weight classes. During his career he set 27 world records. Kono was a very rare weightlifter who also competed successfully as a body builder, winning the AAU Mr. Universe title in 1954, 1955, and 1957. He later coached the national teams of Mexico and West Germany and was the USA weightlifting coach in the 1970s and at the 1976 Olympics. Kono was inducted into the Weightlifting Hall of Fame in 1993 and is a member of the US Olympic Hall of Fame and the Association of Oldetime Barbell and Strongmen Hall of Fame.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1952 Summer Olympics Weightlifting USA Tommy Kono
Lightweight, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
1956 Summer Olympics Weightlifting USA Tommy Kono
Light-Heavyweight, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
1960 Summer Olympics Weightlifting USA Tommy Kono
Middleweight, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver

Special Notes