Despite only being in the sport for a year, the Durham-born Leeds Beckett University student recently shocked the world and himself when he clinched gold at the World Junior Powerlifting Championships back in May.
And as his father Steven watched on from the sidelines seeing Steve going through all the painstaking trials and tribulations of powerlifting, it wasn’t long before he also fancied giving it all a go for himself.
“My dad’s more of a fitness kind of guy,” said Steve, “but now I’ve started powerlifting he wants to do some competitions as well, so I’ve signed him up for one in April next year, starting at the ripe old age of 60.”
“I’m going to be coaching him, so I hope he doesn’t catch me up but we’ll see! I push him hard and I push him through the pain, but it’s hard to have a tactic for everyone because they’re all a little bit different so you have to come at people in different ways.”
But while Steve now regularly spends time to guide his father towards success, the 24-year-old’s own triumphs may not have been possible without the support of his current student.
“My dad and my girlfriend came along (to the world championships) with me,” added Steve. “To be honest they pushed me on a bit more to go and do it because at the time I thought ‘I’m not that experienced, I might just go over there and get absolutely trounced’ and that it might just be a waste of time.
“But then my dad talked me into it and gave me a bit more confidence and then that’s what pushed me on to go and do it.”
To win gold on the world stage having spent less than a year in the sport was naturally “a nice surprise” not just for Steve but for everyone watching.
However sport and physical exercise has been a strong part of Steve’s life for as long as he can remember and ultimately set the wheels in motion for his somewhat accidental, but triumphant, rise in powerlifting.
“I’ve always enjoyed lifting heavy weights,” said Steve. “I come from a farming family as well so I’ve always been quite active, chucking bales about and herding cows.”
“When I was really young I used to watch world’s strongest man and it really fascinated me. So I kind of got the bug then at around eight years old, but I didn’t really know how I’d approach it until I was a bit older.”
“Before (powerlifting) I played rugby (as a prop and second row) and I did a little bit of boxing here and there...but I ended up injuring myself in rugby and having to get surgery on my knee which kind of killed the rugby part for me a bit. So I was just looking at other sports to get into and powerlifting kind of just dropped in.”
Now the world junior champion is more than ready to step up to the next level, with a world senior title as well as a world record all in the pipeline for the next five years.
These huge ambitions, as well as his father’s growing enthusiasm in the sport, seem set to keep Steve’s hands very full, as he aims to take his new-found talent all the way to its full potential.