Pigeon Forge senior power lifter inspires others

PIGEON FORGE (WATE) – Now that we’re into the new year, how is that resolution to get in shape working out for you? Our WATE 6 On Your Side Hero in Pigeon Forge may provide just the inspiration you need.

Competitive power lifter Ray Fougnier of Pigeon Forge has set world records by squatting 270 pounds, bench pressing 200, and dead lifting 405 pounds. It’s hard to believe this accomplished athlete is 73 years old. Not only that, Fougnier has only been lifting competitively for the past three years.

The seed was planted by a guest at his local gym at the Pigeon Forge Community Center, who saw Fougnier’s impressive power lifting skills.

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“Long story short, he said, ‘Why don’t you life competitively?’ I said, not interested, no, don’t even talk to me about it. He said, ‘Well, it may not be what you think it is.'”

Fougnier gave it a shot and is now the proud recipient of some impressive awards. He set four world records back in April at the AAU North American Powerlifiting, Weightlifting and Indoor Strength Championships in Laughlin, New York. Fougnier didn’t just win his age division. He was awarded “Best Lifter” out of all age groups at the event.

Fougnier works out every day and says high intensity interval training helps him stay in top form for lifting, and for life.

“You need to do the exercises, you need to go out there, you need to sweat, you need to breathe hard,” he says.

Fougnier says life in retirement is working out well, pardon the pun, and there are no plans to slow down anytime soon. We gave him our WATE 6 On Your Side Hero award for his efforts to inspire other seniors and, really, people of all ages.

Fougnier is a retired college professor. He says his mother had diabetes and he wants to avoid the same path. He is also a member of the Oneida Indian Nation out of New York, which is his sponsor in the power lifting competitions.

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