Tommy Kono
Great Olympic Champion
His Favorite Quotes!

A"I won two Olympic Gold Championships, one Silver Medal Championship, was eight times World Champion...  [NOTE: and a couple seconds, and should have won two others, ONE when his mother passed away a day before world Championships, and he flew back home, TWO while in military and forbidden to eave Germany though in his prime lifting years], ...  set 26 world records [and American and Pan Am Championships and records],  spread over four bodyweight classes, and I was not subsidized, did not have fancy training quarters, coaches, or any of the things of today. 

How did I do it? 

How did I beat the world? 

I knew that lifting is more than muscle power. 

It is mental power."

From the senior year of high school when I entered my first weightlifting contest, I improved so rapidly that within 26 months, at the Pacific Coast Championships, I had made the highest total (780 lb.) in the world of anyone in my bodyweight class.  The 1950 World Championships was won with 777 lbs. 

[While in military] I was fortunate to have an Olympic lifting set where I was assigned but nothing else… no squat racks or a lifting platform and the Olympic set had iron plates.  Yet, by being resourceful and innovative in my training, every time I performed on weekends, I equaled or exceeded the Olympic record total of 880 lbs." 

  • Tommy Kono on himself


[1] Better to be under-trained than over-trained.

[2] For every ‘down’ there should be an ‘up,’ but you can stay ‘down’ if you tax yourself too often.

[3] Training hard and lifting heavy are all important, but belief in your own ability [is what] makes you ... a champion.

[4] A good lifter...does not make excuses. Making excuses or looking for excuses get you nowhere, but finding the solution to a problem is what weightlifting (and life) is all about.  

[5] Whatever [problems] you have, [Remember] that it could have been worse, so be grateful.

[6] With complacency comes eventual regression. 

[7] Think, plan and expect positive results

[8] In Championship Olympic Weightlifting, 50% is mental, 30% technique and 20% power. 

[9] Most everyone has this in the reverse order of importance and spend too many hours in hard physical training but hardly any time in grooming his or her mind for the sport. 

[10] We should all strive to keep improving ourselves no matter what happens and that adversities and objects are there to challenge our mettle and to make us better, stronger persons.  It is in accepting that challenge that makes us persevere for the bigger goals of life.  

  • Tommy Kono, 
  • Multiple World and Olympic weightlifting championships, 27 World Records,  and Coach in three Olympic Games for various nations, 
  • Four time Mr. Universe, while competing in weightlifting