Former Hawaii Olympians share stories

Tommy Kono
Tommy Kono
Kevin Asano
Kevin Asano
Kathy Hammond
Kathy Hammond

By Stephen Florino - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The Olympic Games is the world's premiere sporting event. It's an honor and privilege to participate.

Nobody knows that more than those who lived it.

Representing your country in the olympic games is special. Each of these panelists know.

"It's a gathering of everybody from all the different countries, the champions of all the different countries, coming together, and so it is something," said Tommy Kono, Olympic weightlifter who won gold in 1952 and 1956, and silver in 1960.

"It's like a dream," said Keven Asano, Olympic judoka, who won silver in 1988. "You know it's still hard for me, even 20 years ago, to think that I was at the Olympics."

All six panelists are former Olympians, and members of the U.S. Olympians association Hawaii chapter. They share their experiences at a panel discussion, and share their feelings as the world gets ready for Beijing.

"I watch the Olympics now, and I get my adrenaline going," said Kathy Hammond, Olympic runner who won a silver and bronze medal at the 1972 games. "I get so excited for the athletes because I know what they've gone through, and I know what they're feeling."

"I think they've let no stone unturned yeah, to make sure it goes over really good," said Kono, about the games in Beijing.

Good or bad, no matter how the competition goes, these athletes have one bit of advice to their current counterparts -- enjoy.

"I realized in life, that it's not about that one moment, being at the Olympics," said Asano. "It's the whole journey that makes it so important."

"Absorb everything, take in everything, and do your best," said Kono. "That's all you can do."

All through August, the Hawaii State Library is showcasing Olympic memorabilia. The display is in the first floor reading room.