Tommy Kono Story: "Arnold Knows Me"

Just in time for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, more than 30 PBS stations nationwide have broadcast the "Arnold Knows Me: The Tommy Kono Story."  

This half-hour film, by Ryan Yamamoto will tell the inspirational story of the most decorated American in the history of weightlifting. Tommy Kono, a Sacramento native, won two Olympic gold medals, an Olympic silver medal, and six World Championship titles between 1952 and 1960.

Kono passed away in April in Honolulu, Hawaii at the age of 85. This documentary will celebrate the life and legacy of a champion athlete.

Along with an amazing winning streak in weighlifting, Kono also won several body building competitions.  He won Mr. Universe three times and Iron Man Mr. World titles— garnering the attention of fellow athletes like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Kono was able to accomplish this despite a childhood where he suffered from asthma and incarceration in the Tule Lake Japanese American interment camp.

Independent documentary filmmaker Ryan Yamamoto has spent the past three years gathering interviews with Kono, his colleagues, and fellow Olympians. 

We raised funds to help pay for archival film and pictures, and production costs. We are now raising additional funds to pay for promotion and distribution efforts so as many people can see the film as possible.

Your support is greatly appreciated. More information, including a film trailer can be found at:

Check out our Facebook page for more updates. 

KVIE broadcasted the documentary on "Viewfinder"  on August 3rd with encore showings on August 5th and August 7th.

A special premiere of the documentary was held on Tuesday, July 26th at KVIE PBS Television. To RSVP:

This film has truly been a labor of love. And, we hope to share this love with our community to remind everyone what a difference Kono made for so many different communities--the Japanese-American community,  the world of weighlifting and body building, and the Olympic community.

Donations (85)

  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 7 yrs


Suzanne Phan
Sacramento, CA

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