Emmy-winning Seattle news anchor Ryan Yamamoto is set to premiere his short documentary, ARNOLD KNOWS ME: THE TOMMY KONO STORY, on July 26 in Kono’s hometown of Sacramento (see trailer above). But who exactly was Tommy Kono?

As a recent piece in Dat Winning explains, Kono was no less than the “world’s greatest weightlifter”:

If you’ve never heard of Tommy Kono, he probably wouldn’t have held it against you. Kono was a Japanese American man of humble origins, born in Sacramento, CA, who spent three years of his childhood in northern California’s Tule Lake internment camp. He also may have been the greatest weightlifter the world has ever seen.

Kono rose to fame in the 1950s, winning Olympic gold medals in weightlifting for the U.S. in 1952 and 1956, and a silver in 1960. He also won the World Weightlifting Championships six consecutive times from 1953 to 1959, finishing his career in 1964 with 26 world records and 7 Olympic records.

If that weren’t enough, as a bodybuilder, he also won Mr. World in 1954, then Mr. Universe in 1955, ’57 and ’61. And during that competition in 1961, he inspired a 13-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger, watching in the crowd, to go home and hit the weights.

And yet, somehow, Kono’s achievements have been relegated to obscure trivia today, when he should have been the stuff of national folklore.


To read the rest of the article, go to Dat Winning: Rediscovering the Legend of Tommy Kono, World’s Greatest Weightlifter