Kono gained a passion for weight lifting while growing up in an incarceration camp for Japanese Americans during World War II.
Kono set at least 20 world records in the 50s and 60s despite being only 5’6″.
He won his first gold medal at Helsinki in 1956 in the lightweight division, then won it in the light heavyweight division in 1960 in Melbourne.
The journal Physical Training featured Kono in an article in 2000.
“Kono competed at whichever of three different weights offered the U.S. the greatest opportunity of defeating the Soviets. The way Kono added weight was by eating six or seven meals a day. To lose weight, he simply cut back to three.”
Kono is a member of the United States Olympic Hall of Fame and the International Weightlifting Hall of Fame.
You can read much more about his life in the New York Times.
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