Tommy Kono is a legend in the weighlifting world. Born in 1930 in Sacramento, CA, Kono was the only lifter to set world records in four weightlifting classes. He was also a gold medalist in the 1952 and 1956 Olympics in Helsinki and Melbourne respectively. Tommy earned a silver medal four years later in Rome. He was world champion from 1953-1959, garnishing 21 world records along the way. He won three Pan-American Games championships during his illustrious career. In 1976, Kono was the US Olympic coach for the games in Montreal.
In addition to his highly successful Olympic weightlifting career, Kono also won the Mr. Universe bodybuilding competitions in 1957 and 1959.
His book, “Weightlifting, Olympic Style” is a bible of Olympic lifting.
Mr. Kono penned a piece titled “If I Had My Way”. It should be on the wall in every gym as it contains his philosophy on how things should be in the gym and it is based on respect and responsibility. It is reproduced here.
IF I HAD MY WAY
by Tommy Kono
If I had my way, the weightlifting area would be treated like a “dojo” as the martial arts students would use their area and equipment for training.
The entire area would be treated with respect from the bar to the barbell plates, from the chalk box to the platform.
The barbell bars would never have the soles of a lifter’s shoe get on it to move or spin it, no more than you would place your shoes on the table top. The bumper plates would never be tossed or stepped on.
The barbell will always be loaded with double bumper plates on each side whenever possible to preserve the bar and the platform. The purpose is to distribute the load over two bumper plates instead of one with an assortment of small iron plates.
The barbell lifted would never be “thrown” down or dropped from overhead except for safety reasons. The hands will guide the bar down in a controlled manner as it is in a contest.
Anger from a failed lift will be controlled so no four-lettered words would be used.
Instead the energy for the anger will be directed for a positive result.
A good Olympic bar will never be used on a squat rack for squatting purpose. There is no need to use the good bar on the squat rack where it could ruin the knurling or cause the bar to be under undue stress, damaging the integrity of the quality of the bar that makes it straight and springy.
When a lifter finishes using the area for training, it would be left neat and clean with the barbell bars and plates properly stored.
Imagine how it would be if you did not have the gym to work out in and had to go to one of the spas, health clubs or fitness gym to practice Olympic lifting.
Imagine if you did not have a “good” Olympic bar and bumper plates for training.
Imagine if all the equipment was your very own and you had to replace it if you or someone damaged it by abuse – the money coming out of your own pocket.
Treat the Olympic barbell bars, bumper plates, platforms and any items used for training or competition with respect.
Development of a strong character begins with respect even for innate objects.
Character Building begins with Respect and Responsibility.