Takanori Kono, along with teammate Kenji Ogiwara, has a special place in Japanese sporting history as the first winners of more than one Olympic Winter Games gold medal. After graduating from high school he spent time in training in Norway before his promotion to the senior Japanese team in 1989-90. He made the Japanese roster for the 1991 World Championships and became a vital member of the national team as they began a golden period in which they were unbeaten at major championships between 1992 and 1995. Kono collected two Olympic and two world titles as a team member during this era and claimed silver in the individual 15 km at the Lillehammer Winter Games. He registered only one victory on the World Cup circuit but that continued his affinity with Norway as it came in arguably the most prestigious event on the tour, the Holmenkollen in Oslo, in 1993. Apart from this solitary victory he also recorded another 11 top three finishes and placed second in the overall standings in 1993-94. Kono left the sport at the comparatively young age of 26 but later returned as a coach.