Imagine at the age of 81-years-old you enter a competition in the sport of weight lifting. For many that would be a thought not fathomable. For Ray Fougnier it's not just a reality, it's his passion.

Fougnier was born and raised in the homelands of the Oneida Indian Nation in Upstate New York. Other than powerlifting, Fougnier has a passion for education. During the course of his career he has served as an educator and administrator in the East Syracuse-Minoa, Solvay, Westhill and Syracuse City school districts. Not forgetting his Oneida Indian Nation roots, Fougnier was selected as the first Director for the American Indian Program at Cornell University.

Photo Courtesy of Oneida Indian Nation
Photo Courtesy of Oneida Indian Nation

Along with all his professional accolades, Fougnier has accomplished tremendous feats in the world of weightlifting and continues to do so. His most recent successes came during the 2024 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) North American Championships. As a result of the competition outside of Las Vegas in Loughlin, Nevada the 81-year-old grandfather set 13 new world records and earned 4 gold medals. When asked about what drives him Fougnier said,

I live everyday by my motto, ‘age is not a barrier’ and I hope to inspire others to live a healthy lifestyle, regardless of the number of candles on their birthday cake. You don’t have to compete for world records to be healthy; just stay active, have a consistent diet and you will extend your life.

That motto is proven in the work he's done to elevate his competitive drive. For years the Oneida Indian Nation has sponsored Fougnier in many of his events. In 2023, Fougnier was named the AAU National Powerlifter of the Year. The year prior, he earned the 2022 AAU Strength Sports Best Overall Male Athlete of the Year Award, which includes powerlifting, weightlifting, body building and feats of strength. These awards include all competitors, regardless of age.

Fougnier is no doubt an impressive individual and his accomplishments should be motivation to all. As Fougnier said himself, not motivation to necessarily go set world records, but to live the healthiest lifestyle you can and always strive to be your best. What an impressive individual. Keep Kicking Butt Ray! You're an inspiration to so many.

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