On September 26th, Ray Fougnier (Wolf Clan) returned to the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas to compete in the 2021 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Powerlifting International Championships. Over the course of his weightlifting career so far, the 78-year-old set 20 World Records and 28 American Records. In addition, he has won 8 AAU Best Lifter Awards in world and international competition, and has been selected as the AAU powerlifting Male Athlete of the Year in 2018 and 2020.
He has competed at the AAU North American, World and International Powerlifting Championships for five years, setting new records each time in the raw master’s division, where participants within his age range (75-79) do not use any equipment to assist their lift.
Earlier in the year at April’s event – the North American Championships – Ray completed all nine lifts (three for each category), successfully setting the world record for his age group in the squat (297.6 lb.), bench press (198.4 lb.), and deadlift (429.8 lb.) for a total of 914.9 lbs. or 415 kg.
This time in September, at the International Championships, Ray was able to raise the bar once again. He set new marks for the squat and deadlift, and hopes to set new records again in his last year competing in this age group next year.
He won the Best Lifter Award at the event – an award he’s only missed once since 2016 in AAU competition. That award is open to every competitor and uses a weighted score that measures the relative strength of powerlifters so everyone competes on a level playing field.
The Oneida Indian Nation is proud to sponsor Ray at weightlifting events around the United States to continue elevating the mission to promote healthy living and exercise in our community.
“I am glad to continue serving as an example of the powers of healthy living,” Ray said following his remarkable accomplishments at this year’s powerlifting championships. “If I can do it, so can others. When it comes to physical ability and exercise, age really is just a number!”
Ray trains six days per week for two hours a day. He splits his time between lifting and cardio work, and plans to compete in the next event in April.
“My father died when he was 66 years old and my mother died at 72 with complications from diabetes. I said when I retire, I didn’t want to be in that situation. So I committed myself to a healthy lifestyle,” he said. “And now people ask me ‘when are you going to quit’ and I always say ‘I feel good, I’m not quitting.’”
Besides his success in weightlifting, Ray is also an accomplished educator, administrator and academic. He was the first to serve as Director for the American Indian Program at Cornell University, and also served as a teacher or administrator in the East Syracuse-Minoa, Solvay, Westhill and Syracuse City school districts.