USA Weightlifting Features USOPA honors the lif...

USOPA honors the life of Tommy Kono

April 25, 2016, 11:53 a.m. (ET)

Tamio "Tommy" Kono

Olympic Weightlifting Team - 1952, 1956, 1960

Born: June 27, 1930, died Sunday April 24, 2016 at the age of 85.

This is a sad day for all those that adored Tommy and learned from his giving heart throughout his amazing life. He was an Olympians Olympian. Cared deeply for the Olympic sport of weightlifting, the athletes, giving back and was happy to share all the life lessons that went along with his many experiences competing for the United States of America. Proud, proud, proud to have met him, spoken to him and of course, respected him. RIP Tommy!

Pound-for-pound, 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.