Oneida Indian Nation Elder Named 2022 American Athletic Union Athlete of the Year; Sets 27 World Records

79-year-old Ray Fougnier continues to raise the bar with his latest performance at the 2022 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Powerlifting World Championships. In addition to winning the event’s Top Senior Male Athlete of the Year in Powerlifting Award, the Oneida Indian Nation powerlifter set 27 world records and earned 8 gold medals.

Oneida Indian Nation Homelands (October 19, 2022) –– Oneida Indian Nation Member Ray Fougnier returned to the mat and continued his exceptional abilities in powerlifting at the 2022 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Powerlifting World Championships held in Las Vegas, NV earlier this month. Building on his prior successes, the 79-year-old set 27 new World Records and earned eight gold medals at the competition. Fougnier also added the2022 AAU Strength Sports Overall Male National Athlete of the Year Award, which includes powerlifting, weightlifting, body building and feats of strength. This award includes all competitors, regardless of age.

Fougnier has competed at the AAU North American, World and International Powerlifting Championships for eight years, setting new records each time in the raw master’s division, where participants within his age range (75-79) do not use equipment to assist their lift.

At the 2022 World Championships, Fougnier competed in the raw master’s and equipped master’s divisions, successfully completing eight of nine lifts in each division (three for each lift type). After completing a World Record third lift, participants can ask for a fourth to increase their scores. Using a special formula that utilizes each competitor’s best lifts, the AAU presented Fougnier with the Lifter of the Year Award and the Athlete of the Year Award for previous competitions.

The Oneida Indian Nation is proud to sponsor Fougnier at powerlifting events across the country as a strong advocate for his inspiring mission to promote healthy living and exercise for Native Americans of every age.

“I try to take care of myself physically, first and foremost,” Fougnier said, reflecting on his performance. “As long as you do that, and train safely and methodically, you can live a healthy life at any age. My advice to other American Indian Elders is to be committed and consistent, both in exercise and diet.”

In addition to his success in powerlifting, Fougnier is also an accomplished educator, administrator and academic. After growing up in the homelands of the Oneida Indian Nation in Upstate New York, the weightlifting champion was selected to serve as the first Director for the American Indian Program at Cornell University. He also served as a teacher or administrator in the East Syracuse-Minoa, Solvay, Westhill and Syracuse City school districts.