Release -- The Oneida Indian Nation today applauds its 71 year-old
Wolf Clan member Ray Fougnier for his stellar performance at the
2014 International Powerlifting Federation World Championships in
South Africa earlier this month. Fougnier, whose travel was sponsored
by the Oneida Nation, medaled in each of the three powerlifting
events squat, benchpress and deadlift, and earned the overall
silver medal for his masters weight division. He also received,
at the tournament, his U.S. national champion medal, the achievement
which qualified him for the worldwide powerlifting championships.
with fellow medal winners, Fougnier was honored during an awards
ceremony similar to that of the Olympics where the victors had the
medals placed around their necks and stood on a tiered podium as
the national anthems from each country played. Fougnier described
the event as having an overwhelming sense of camaraderie, despite
language barriers between competitors.
After bringing home for the United States the overall silver
medal, benchpress bronze medal, silver medal for the squat and the
gold medal for the deadlift event, Fougnier says he felt pleased
about the competition, but continues to strive to improve. He will
participate in the USA Powerlifting (USAPL) Raw National Championships
in Denver, Colorado, next month, where he hopes to once again qualify
for the world championships to be held in June 2015 in Finland.
Fougnier, a retired teacher who grew up on the Oneida Nation's
homelands in Central New York and now lives in Tennessee, only joined
the sport within the past year. He views his success in competitive
powerlifting as a unique opportunity to encourage exercise and healthy
living in Native Americans, particular children, whose communities
face many ongoing health issues.
"It was such an honor to represent the United States and the
Oneida Nation at this prestigious international competition," said
Fougnier. "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."
Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter said: "I
would like to applaud Ray Fougnier for his fantastic performance
at the world powerlifting championships. We continue to be inspired
by his rugged determination, which mirrors the underlying values
of the Nation. We are proud of all that he has already achieved,
and look forward to watching Ray's continued success."
A Native American tribe which lives on its ancestral homelands
near Syracuse, the Oneida Indian Nation operates Turning Stone Resort
Casino and a number of additional successful business enterprises.
The Nation has been a close ally since before the founding of the
United States, fighting alongside George Washington and his troops
during the Revolutionary War.