Ten years after being imprisoned in an incarceration camp during World War II because he happen to be Japanese American, Tommy Kono won the Olympic gold medal for weight lifting representing Team USA.
The world record holder in four different weight classes is being remembered today with a Google Doodle illustrated by Shanti Rittgers.
Kono developed his passion for weight lifting as a 12 year old being raised in an incarceration camp. He entered his first weightlifting competition in his hometown of Sacramento, CA and won his first gold medal at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games in the light weight division. He won his second gold medal four years later in the light-heavyweight competition.
Today is Kono’s 91st birthday.
He retired in 1964 holding 26 world records. In 1993, he entered the weightlifting hall of fame as an inductee after serving as an Olympic coach in the 70’s.
In a statement issued in reaction to today’s Google Doodle, his son said “My father would always say weightlifting was 30% physical and 70% mental and his ability to stay focused with a positive mental attitude was his greatest strength throughout his weightlifting career. He always encouraged positivity and growth and used phrases he felt would help you through life. “Do what you should before you do what you want” was one of his sayings. That holds true for me still today.“
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