Olympic gold medalist, legendary weightlifter Tommy Kono dies

Olympic gold medalist, legendary weightlifter Tommy Kono dies
Published: Apr. 24, 2016 at 9:49 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 24, 2016 at 10:25 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Tommy Tamio Kono, a two-time Olympic gold medal weightlifter who later became the head coach of the U.S. Olympic weightlifting team, died Sunday in Honolulu.

He was 85.

Friends of the Kono family say he died of complications from liver disease. He had reportedly been ill since late 2015.

Kono, born in 1930 in Sacramento, burst onto the international weightlifting scene in 1952, winning the lightweight (67.5kg) gold medal at the Olympic Games in Helsinki. Months later, at the 1953 World Weightlifting Championships in Stockholm, Kono won gold as a middleweight (75kg), his first of six consecutive weightlifting world titles.

Competing as a light-heavyweight (82.5kg), Kono again earned Olympic gold at the Melbourne games of 1956. After a world-record performance as a middle heavyweight, Kono became the first international weight lifter to set world records at four separate weight classes.

His competitive weightlifting career, which also included a silver medal at the 1960 games in Rome, saw Kono set 26 world records and 7 Olympic records. After coaching stints with the Mexican and West German national teams, Kono led the U.S. Olympic Team into competition at the 1976 games in Montreal.

Kono was not only an Olympic weightlifter, he was also a physique champion. Kono was named "Mr. Universe" three times.

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