Mansfield resident and weightlifting champion Xavier Lusignan had a successful year in 2023, winning gold at the Pan American Junior Weightlifting Championships and another two gold medals at the Senior Canadian Championships in May, and the Junior Canadian Championships in June. He also participated in his first international competitions at the IWF Grand Prix in Havana, Cuba in June and the World Junior Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico in November.
“It was a pretty rough start to the season. I had 4 competitions all within a month and two of them were international. It was quite a journey, but it turned out well in the end,” said Lusignan.
His main focus at the start of the year was to win gold at the Pan American championships after doing so in 2022 and then obtain the highest possible total in the other competitions. At the Junior Canadian Championships, Lusignan moved up a weight class from 96kg to 102kg and broke a new Canadian record for junior men’s 102kg, lifting a combined total of 335kg.
While Lusignan finished second in the snatch at the IWF Grand Prix, he didn’t place overall in either of the international competitions. However, he said participating at the international level was an important learning experience and preparation for the future. “The IWF Grand Prix was my first ever international senior competition. It was a great opportunity to get to know who I will compete against internationally. It wasn’t my day for the clean and jerk, but it was a good learning experience. I finished 4th or 5th overall at my first senior international competition, which wasn’t bad,” he told the Journal.
Lusignan said he will focus on building strength for his new weight class during 2024 in preparation for international competitions over the coming years. However, he said he may still participate in the World Senior Championships in Bahrain at the end of this year.
At 20 years old, Lusignan plans to participate in the Olympic games, which is possible given his successful career so far. Alongside weightlifting, he’s currently studying marketing at UQO and works at a grocery store in Mansfield on the weekend. He’s considering opening his own gym after graduating.
Lusignan credits his success to his team, family, and community. “Hard work really does pay off, but if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be half the athlete I am today,” he said, noting he feels a strong sense of pride in his local community when participating in international competitions. “I’m honoured to say I’m from [here] and prove that, no matter where you are from, you can achieve anything if you’re dedicated and willing to put in the work,” said Lusignan. “Coming from a small place like Mansfield is a strength; everyone there supports me and is proud of me. It gives me a fire inside to do better and to make them proud,” he added.
He also expressed gratitude for the many fundraisers held locally to help with his journey. Unlike other countries, weightlifting is not a paid professional sport in Canada and Lusignan said most of his travel expenses are covered by a combination of his own resources and support from the local community.
Xavier’s sister Naomie Lusignan also won two gold medals at the Canadian weightlifting championships this year. Both Xavier and Naomie expect to participate in the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles as part of team Canada.