At the young age of 73, Native star athlete Ray Fougnier is continuing to inspire with his performances in powerlifting after recently setting four world records at the Amateur Athletic Union’s 2016 North American Championships held April 8-10 in Laughlin, Nevada.
Fougnier, a member of the Oneida Indian Nation, won the 70-74 age division and now qualifies for the AAU World Powerlifting Championships Sept. 23-25 in Las Vegas. He set records in the squat, bench press, deadlift and total overall score categories en route to being named the best lifter of the event.
This isn’t Fougnier’s first trip to the world championships. He captured five medals in 2014, including a gold in the deadlift, en route to finishing second overall.
“It was such an honor to represent the United States and the Oneida Nation at this prestigious international competition,” he told ICTMN.”Health and fitness have always been a priority for me, but it is my hope that with this new national and international platform, I can serve as a positive role model who helps inspire Native peoples and children to embrace an active lifestyle.”
For the event, the Oneida Nation sponsored the senior, who began lifting at age 70 after he retired. He was the former head of Cornell’s American Indian program who said he never thought about competing in powerlifting. He was named a national champion after just three events.
Fougnier wound up qualifying for the world championships, earning second place overall. Prior to that event in South Africa in 2014, he unveiled his regimen to ICTMN:
Fougnier said he works out for two hours three days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Fruits, vegetables and protein compose most of his diet, he said. And rest is ever-so valuable.
“At my age I need to have more recovery time. I can’t lift like younger lifters lift. You need to be a little more restrained in the type of abuse you put your body through. That’s why I only work only three days a week.”
Follow ICTMN’s Cary Rosenbaum on Twitter: @CaryRosenbaum