On Saturday, June 11th, 2016 the stage was set for powerlifter Steven Kryspin. After setting a personal record in the bench and squat, and matching his personal record in the deadlift, he stood backstage awaiting his named to be called for his third and final deadlift.
As the crowd rose to their feet for the final act of the powerlifting competition, Kryspin popped off his iPod and strutted in from backstage with a pep in his step. The weight was carefully situated on each end of the bar and with nervous energy, Kryspin approached. The goal, which had been in sight all season, was 525 pounds.
From Swimming to Lifting
Steven first got involved with Special Olympics in 2001 as a swimmer, but after dislocating his shoulder at a swim meet in 2003, he was in search of another sport to fill his time. After some searching, Steven landed on powerlifting and was matched up with coach Tom Brennan. Steven’s mother Colleen gushed as she reflected on how the relationship has panned out.
“He’s like a second father to Steven now. He knows just how to motivate Steven. I cant say enough about him, he’s a great coach!”– Colleen, Steven Kryspin’s mother
Coach Brennan recalled meeting Steven in 2003. At the time Steven was a scrawny yet eager teenager. As the year’s passed and Steven started physically progressing, Coach Brennan noticed his commitment to the sport increased.
“Most of the athletes work out once a week, but Steven wanted to compete more so he started lifting two nights a week.”
With the help of his coach and dad John, who is also a major part of his training, Steven was able to see major gains in his lifting over the increasing years. By 2009, Steven was deadlifting over 400 pounds and then in 2014 he successfully lifted 500 pounds.
The plan going into this year’s Summer Games was to work Kryspin up to lift 515 pounds, but coach Brennan decided otherwise and explained his decision as in easy one. “After his second lift, I just had a feeling he could do 525 with ease.”When Coach Brennan told Steven he was going to stack 525 pounds on, a weight he had never before lifted, Steven simply replied “Okay” in his soft voice. For Steven, the whole breaking records and expectations thing was business as usual.
Coach Brennan has been around powerlifting long enough to understand usually there is a general range that an athlete might max out at. But with Steven, he claims he simply doesn’t know his limitations. So when Steven approached him after the games and told him, “I want to do 600 pounds” he wasn’t surprised. In fact, Coach Brennan is adamant that he will be able to get to 600 pounds.
“If you’re wondering how the training is going, just know that Steven ripped his shorts because his thigh muscles are getting too big.”
While Steven’s powerlifting career thus far can be measured by the weight that he has simply raised from the ground, his growth as a person, as a son, brother, employee, and friend is not as easily measured. Yet the people close to him see that the strides he’s made as a man are much greater than any of the strides made as an athlete. Now living independently and working three days a week at Trader Joes, Steven continues to impact so many of the lives he comes in contact with.
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